In her book, Wildfire: On the Front Lines with Station 8, Heather Hansen brings equal measures of science and drama to the issue of combating ever larger, more intense wildland fires. She spent eighteen months immersed in fire science and policy, shadowing the elite firefighters of Station 8 near Boulder, Colorado, through their daily training regimens, public interaction, and an all-out, week-long battle against a mountain blaze that tested their intensively honed skills and endurance.
Hansen explores many aspects of wildfires, from the history of the national parks and development of forest management techniques to the most up-to-date computer models of fire behavior and micrometeorology. Her lively reportage combines interviews, mountain hikes, visits to fire labs, and even her game attempts to keep up with hotshot trainees and the Station 8 firefighters during their rigorous workouts and Rabelaisian bacony feasts.
Her expertly deconstructed insights come together in a taut final chapter that chronicles the July 2016 Cold Springs fire. Hansen neatly balances analysis of the policy struggles over prescribed burns as they ran against residents’ desires to live in wildland-urban borders surrounded by scenic trees and landscaping