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A Man and His Dog in Fire Country
Fire Season: Field Notes From a Wilderness Lookout by Philip Connors is one of those relaxing airplane ride books or winter fireside reads that really lets you understand how being on a fire watchtower, miles from anyone else could be both exciting and soul refreshing. Solitude is something that many of us don’t get enough of anymore. At the same time, when the storms come in and Zeus starts throwing his bolts of fire and Thor hammers you from all sides, the Gods of old seem more than real, in fact, they are right there in the room with you and you cringe at their very power and being!
My buddy, Scott Fitch, who spent a number of summers on mountain tops with his hair electrified vouches for the truth of Conners’ words. Out in the Gila National Forest in a hundred square feet of fire tower there’s plenty of time to think and even go buck stark naked if you so choose as long as you keep the eyes peeled for those tiny whisps of smoke that are the telltale signature of Mother Nature about to break loose and go on the rampage at Apache Peak
Read it slowly. Marvel at the stories of the legends of firefighting and forestry conservaton. Ponder the silence and loneliness of a month on a mountain top with no visitors other than your dog. Understand the origins of our forest policies and the misinterpretations of how we should manage this vast wealth of our nation in the light of global warming and the buildup of tinder dry fuels in areas larger than the entire state of Massachusetts.
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