Fire Season

Fire Season

Field Notes From A Wilderness Lookout

Book - 2011
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The author discusses his time spent ten thousand feet above ground as a fire lookout in a remote part of New Mexico, a job where he witnessed some of the most amazing phenomena nature has to offer.
Publisher: New York : Ecco, 2011
ISBN: 9780061859366
Branch Call Number: 634.9 CON 2011
Characteristics: 246 p

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rhubarb42
Jun 09, 2016

    Can you imagine what it might be like to spend 8 summers as a fire lookout? Spending nearly half each year in a 7' x 7' tower, 10,000 feet above sea level in remote New Mexico with the sole, simple task : keep watch over one of the most fire-prone forests in the country and sound the alarm at the first sign of smoke? Philip Connors left work as an editor at the Wall Street Journal to do that and write about it.

   The result is a reflection on work, our place in the wild, and the charms of solitude. The landscape over which he keeps watch is rugged and roadless — it was the first region in the world to be officially placed off limits to industrial machines — and it typically gets hit by lightning more than 30,000 times per year. Connors recounts his days and nights in this forbidding land, untethered from the comforts of modern life: the eerie pleasure of being alone in his glass-walled perch with only his dog Alice for company; occasional visits from smokejumpers and long-distance hikers; the strange dance of communion and wariness with
bears, elk, and other wild creatures; trips to visit the hidden graves of the famous Buffalo Soldiers slain during the Apache wars of the nineteenth century; and always the majesty and might of lightning storms and untamed fire.

   In the course of his memoir  we meet other now famous writers who also served time as forest lookouts:  Edward Abbey, Jack Kerouac, and Norman Maclean. Or perhaps Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac) whose 1920s work in the Forest Service created the idea and rationale for wilderness areas as the "highest and best use" of some public lands.

   The audio version loaded onto a portable device is an excellent companion while walking, gardening, etc.

LPL_DanC May 18, 2016

Phillip Connors' memoir of his service as a fire lookout in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico is in the same league as classics by Annie Dillard and Aldo Leopold. In it he examines the strange life of solitude on the lookout tower, the history of wildfires and the idea of wilderness, and lives of other writers who have written about wildfires or wildfire spotting, including Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, and Norman MacLean. So beautiful I was sad when I finished.

drudofsky Oct 03, 2015

A relaxing, informative, spiritual and enjoyable read.

c
carrouselhorse1106
Aug 07, 2013

It's a Wonderful Book & Very Well Written- about conservation, wild fires & America's Wilderness. The Author writes about his preference to solitude & nature. He reminds me of my Dad, he also worked for the Forest Service & couldn't wait to get into the mtns.

w
WDreier
Jan 03, 2013

A terrific read about the history of conservation in America (wildfire fighting, in particular). Also a window into the little-known world's first wilderness area in and the mind of a writer who prefers solitude and nature over the hustle and bustle of the big city. Fascinating on many levels.

b
BobScott36
May 18, 2011

A terrific read about wilderness, solitude, different cultures and philosophies. Highly recommended.

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