The year is 1910 and hot summer conditions have combined with lack of rain to create a dangerous fire threat. Small blazes are cropping up all throughout the state of Idaho, started by campfires, sparks created by trains, lightening, and even arson. When a freak windstorm fans these separate flames they join, becoming one vast inferno that sweeps through the forested hills.
In “The Big Burn” Jeanette Ingold creates three well-designed characters that must face this disaster. Jarret is a young man who lost his job because of a fire. Now he’s is part of the fire crews, determined to prove himself in the fight against the flames. Seth is a young black man who joined the army hoping to find respect. When his company is sent to help fight the fires he must develop the courage that the job will take. Lizbeth loves the forest land that she has grown up on and wants to stay, despite the fact that her life will be in danger.
Throughout the story, Ingold seamlessly weaves the experiences of these young people together into the larger event. “The Big Burn” has very well-researched content that is informative, and yet absorbing at the same time. From fire fighting techniques to the conditions and people that were involved in the real event, Ingold’s book competently captures all aspects of the historic fire, both on a small and large scale. I would definitely recommend this book for its interesting historical plot and its well-written style.
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