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'I've watched deer and elk frolic in the meadow below me, and pine trees explode in a blue ball of smoke. If there's a better job anywhere on the planet, I'd like to know what it is.’ For nearly a decade, Philip Connors has spent half of each year in a small room at the top of a tower, on top of a mountain, alone in millions of acres of remote American wilderness. His job: to look for wildfires. Capturing the wonder and grandeur of this most unusual job and place, Fire Season evokes both the eerie pleasure of solitude and the majesty, might and beauty of untamed fire at its wildest. Connors’ time up on the peak is filled with drama – there are fires large and small; spectacular midnight lightning storms and silent mornings awakening above the clouds; surprise encounters with smokejumpers, black bears, and an abandoned, dying fawn. Filled with Connors’ heartfelt reflections on our place in the wild, Fire Season is an instant modern classic: a remarkable memoir that is at once an homage to the beauty of nature, the blessings of solitude, and the freedom of the independent spirit. Advance praise for Fire Season: ‘A masterwork of close observation, deep reflection, and hard-won wisdom . . . an unforgettable reckoning with the American land’ Philip Gourevitch ‘His adventures in radical solitude make for profoundly absorbing, restorative reading’ Walter Kirn
Wilderness and the river that runs through open his heart: his mountain burns, friends die, and he falls in love.
Fire is rarely out of the headlines, from large natural wildfires raging across the Australian or Californian countrysides to the burning of buildings such as the disasters of Grenfell tower and Notre Dame. Fire on these scales can represent a serious risk to human life and property. But the advent of fire made and controlled by humans also represented a crucial point in our evolution, allowing us to cook our food, forge our weapons, and warm our homes. This Very Short Introduction covers the fundamentals of fire, whether wild or under human control, starting with the basics of ignition, combustion, and fuel. Andrew Scott considers both natural wildfires and the role of humans in making and suppressing fire. Despite frightening reports of wildfire destruction, he also shows how landscape fires have been part of our planet's history for 400 million years, and do not always have to be extinguished. He also considers the problem of fires in urban settings, including new ways to prevent fires. The cost of wildfire can be steep - as well as the burning, post-fire erosion and flooding can have a great impact on both humans and the environment. It can also have a lasting effect in shaping ecosystems and plant life. Scott ends by examining the relationship between fire and the climate, and considering the future of wildfire in a warming world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
"We are surrounded by a world that talks, but we don't listen. We are part of a community engaged in a vast conversation, but we deny our role in it." In the face of climate change, species loss, and vast environmental destruction, the ability to stand in the flow of the great conversation of all creatures and the earth can feel utterly lost to the human race. But Belden C. Lane suggests that it can and must be recovered, not only for the sake of endangered species and the well-being of at-risk communities, but for the survival of the world itself. The Great Conversation is Lane's multi-faceted treatise on a spiritually centered environmentalism. At the core is a belief in the power of the natural world to act as teacher. In a series of personal anecdotes, Lane pairs his own experiences in the wild with the writings of saints and sages from a wide range of religious traditions. A night in a Missourian cave brings to mind the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola; the canyons of southern Utah elicit a response from the Chinese philosopher Laozi; 500,000 migrating sandhill cranes rest in Nebraska and evoke the Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar. With each chapter, the humility of spiritual masters through the ages melds with the author's encounters with natural teachers to offer guidance for entering once more into a conversation with the world.
In Mountains of Memory, seasoned wilderness dweller Don Scheese charts a long season of watching for and fighting fires in Idaho's River of No Return Wilderness&151the largest federal wilderness area in the mainland United States. An inspiring tale of self-discovery,Mountains of Memory paints a complex portrait of the natural, institutional, and historical forces that have shaped the great forested landscapes of the American West. A student of nature writing as well as a fire lookout with over a decade of experience, Scheese recounts his life at the top of the world, along with daring adventures such as backpacking and mountaineering in the Bighorn Crags and kayaking down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. All the while, he touches upon the mysterious and powerful realities of the wilderness around him and stunning dawns visible within the glass cage perched on a 9,000-foot mountain, stirring flashes of lightning visible all around the dark landscape as the radio crackles with reports of strikes observed and fires spotted, long-awaited trips down the mountain to civilization for cold beer and hot pizza. In the tradition of Edward Abbey and Gary Snyder, Don Scheese offers readers a meditation on the meaning and value of wilderness at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

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