On the Burning Edge by Kyle Dickman
Random House: 5/12/2015
eBook review copy, 304 pages
hardcover ISBN-13: 9780553392128
On the Burning Edge by Kyle Dickman is a highly recommended, in
depth look at the 20 Granite Mountain Hotshots of Prescott, AZ., and the
Yarnell, AZ., wildfire that claimed 19 of their lives.
Dickman, a former hotshot, spent five years fighting wildfires in
California. His insider's knowledge and viewpoint give us information
about the group and how they train and interact. While providing the
information on a brief history of wildfire firefighting teams, and how a
hotshot team trains and works fighting wildfires, he focuses mainly on
the Granite Mountain Hotshots. He then gives us a well-researched inside
glimpse at each of the members of the team. Dickman carefully covers
each member of the crew and even includes their last text messages sent
to loved ones.
The wildfire in Yarnell was sparked by a lightning bolt and quickly
turned into an inferno that
eventually devoured more than eight thousand acres in northern Arizona.
Anyone who has ever seen a wildfire take off will understand the terror
and unpredictability of a wildfire. Those of us who have done so, have
also watched and applauded the dedicated crews coming in to fight those
fires. While the actual firefighting portion of the book may seem scant,
On the Burning Edge is a memorable and heartbreaking account of the men who fought the fire.
I remember vividly when living in the west seeing a lightning strike hit
a nearby mountain and then almost immediately seeing smoke arise from
the mountain. It is a horrifying feeling to watch a fire take off and
know your family could be in the path of a wildfire. Furthermore, these
fires seemed to be a yearly occurrence. So many people across the USA
depend on the hotshots and crews of dedicated firefighters from across
the West to come in and fight the fires. (A shout out to those flying
helicopters and dumping flame retardant on the fires too.)
Dickman does a good job presenting the information and telling the story
of the tragic event. It is also a story of warning and caution. With
the increased population and well publicized
decrease in the water supply in the West, there are certainly going to
be an increase of fires that threaten populated areas and more
young men will be in harm’s way fighting the fires.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy
of Random House for review