Wildfire: On the Front Lines with Station 8

Heather Hansen

Wildfire shares the drama, hardships, and experiences of firefighters who try, sometimes in vain, to prevent destruction when a spark flares out of control.

Hansen tells the rich and compelling stories of the firefighters themselves and the challenges they face: a safety system struggling to keep up with lengthening fire seasons, fires that are becoming more extreme, and agencies struggling to pay the bills.

A look at WILDFIRE

“In Wildfire, the journalist Heather Hansen embeds herself in an elite crew of wildland firefighters based in Boulder, Colorado...

The prescribed burn on the ridge is tense, unexpectedly dramatic...

The climax of Hansen’s narrative is ... a wildfire: a six-day fight near a small mountain town at the top of Boulder Canyon.”

—William Finnegan, New York Review of Books


“This comprehensive and fascinating book concludes with a minute-by-minute account of the fight to contain a Colorado forest fire…[it] will help readers understand the skill required, and danger faced, by those who battle the increasing number of severe fires on our fast-warming planet.”

—Bill McKibben, author of Radio Free Vermont


“With such great research, affecting writing, and first-person experience...[Hansen] captures the most up-to-date science, theories, practices, and public perception about our still-expanding era of mega-fires.”

—Tracy Ross, Outside

And even MORE

"Wildfire is a remarkable piece of immersive journalism—and storytelling.  I was immediately drawn to the wildland firefighters of Boulder’s Station 8, to their characters, their mental and physical toughness, their quirks, and the complexity and enormity of the job.

There is no team quite like Station 8 in all the world, and Hansen does wonderful work weaving an intimate portrait of these nine men--the best of the best at the most dangerous job--into an exploration of the evolving history and science of how human society interacts with wildfire.

In a finely wrought, often gripping narrative, she explains how fires are a natural and necessary phenomenon, and how the pressures of increasing drought, heat, and population are spawning megafires like none we have seen before.  An excellent and entertaining book at a critical time in the relationship between humans and fire."

-Peter Heller, bestselling author of The Dog Stars and Celine

photo E

About the crew

The wildland firefighters of Station 8 in Boulder, Colorado are among the most experienced in the country. They've worked blazes, and other disasters, from the Alaskan tundra to the Florida wetlands, from digging line 16 hours a day to commanding national incidents.

Part of what makes them unique in the nation is that the Boulder crew are nine full-time firefighters focused as much on fighting fire as what comes in the weeks and months before that--education, mitigation, preparation. In this book they share their experiences, know-how and wit to create a portrait of fire; where we've been, where we are, and where we're headed.

(Photo credit: Dave Zader)

Upcoming Events

Join Heather to talk about Wildfire.


Locally and online