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Fire Season

author: Philip Connors (2012)
date read: 22 January 2017
rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Fire spotters are a rare breed, and becoming rarer still. I’ve always found the idea appealing (even if I’m not sure I’d enjoy it in practice) – I suspect that’s why I enjoyed the book so much.

I expected to hear about the experience of being a fire lookout – the solitude, the wilderness, the loneliness – and on that, the book delivers. It’s really an account of a single year in the tower: five months spent in the Gila wilderness, with nothing but his dog for company. But the author also interleaves a lot of history and background on fire towers and the US Forest Service, which provides both interesting facts and useful context for the narrative. It also doesn’t pull its punches – the book is critical of some of the Forest Service decisions, and makes clear the strain it puts on his relationships.

There are definitely some rough edges, but overall I enjoyed the read.

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