Chasing Smoke, a wildfire memoir.
The Prince Rupert author who has worked on the lines for the province of British Columbia for a number of years, recounts many of those days and nights in his book and will be answering questions as part of the reading set for 7 PM tonight in the Multipurpose room of the Prince Rupert Library on at 6th Ave West and McBride.
His work compiled through the course of the 2014 fire season, calls upon his many years of experience in the province's forests to bring the work of fighting fires to life for the reader, sharing the moments of boredom that can be found at times, to the frantic efforts that put their training to the test when the flames are approaching, consuming the forests at a rapid pace..
Mr. Williams explores the unique geography of the province that creates challenges for the wildfire crews, the hot summers and proximity to population centres that make British Columbia one of the most difficult places in the world to fight a forest fire.
He explores not only the close knit team work required to be part of a fire crew, but also examines some of the bureaucracy that those on the front lines can find as they take to their work. He also provides some interesting notes on how the public views the work of fire management in the province, with some thankful for the work in the woods and others suggesting that the province's fire plan needs some strong revisions.
"At first I'm calm as the trees fall. But suddenly a rat's nest of wood, bent horizontal and cribbed into the trees above us, comes down in a rush of a hundred machine gun snaps. Trees caught in the nest flail around before hitting the ground. Our eyes dart everywhere, trying to keep track of every moment. Trees break free and swing themselves like catapults. Splintered chunks of wood slash through the air like propellers… Falling trees is the most dangerous job in North America." -- An excerpt from Chasing Smoke, by Aaron Williams
Coming at the end of what has been one of the worst summers for forest fires in recent memories, his review of not only the battles in the forest, but the camaraderie of those that are on the lines offers a glimpse not only into some of the dangers the fire crews face, but a look at the lives of the small crews that head into the face of danger that the fires present.
Published by Harbour publishing, they provide a short synopsis here of some of the key elements of the book which has attracted interest from many media reviewers in recent months.
An interview the author gave to CBC Vancouver Island provides a bit more background into the work of a wildfire fighter, as well as glimpse into what pushed him to put it all on paper.
Mr. Williams book is available locally at Eddie' News on Second Avenue West.
The evening's reading is sponsored by Eddie's News and the Prince Rupert Library.
More notes on community events can be found on our archive page here.