The idea for this website came from my growing enthusiasm for seeking out wisdom anywhere it could be found. This is my fifth season in fire and it seemed a good way for generating ideas and pursuing them further. But going from firefighter to student of fire, I owe that to Paul Gleason among others.
During a recent 2800-mile road trip to the southwest, I made a site visit to the 1990 Dude Fire and attended a staff ride in Arcadia California for the Loop Fire of 1966. While revisiting the documents tied to those incidents – things like investigation reports, newspaper articles, old photographs and maps – one thing became ingrained in me. It was a speech Paul Gleason made in 1996 at the memorial ceremony honoring those killed 30 years earlier in the Loop Fire.
“Unfortunately, much of our knowledge and lessons learned about wildland fire have been gained only through the high cost of firefighters’ lives.”
He goes on to say that to honor them, we must learn what we can in order to prevent unnecessary repeats; we must be, students of fire.