The Year Yellowstone Burned: A 25-Year Perspective

Jeff Henry. Rowman & Littlefield/Taylor, $24.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-58979-903-5
Park ranger, writer, and photographer Henry (Yellowstone's Rebirth by Fire) revisits the 1988 Yellowstone National Park wildfires, which burned for at least three months and affected more than 35% of the park. According to Henry, the fires in Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1988 were not unexpected, but they nonetheless wreaked havoc. He charts the fires' progress from the end of June through the middle of September, when light rain and snow finally began to fall. Climate conditions played a large role: the fires, touched off by lightning strikes, endured because of "extremely hot weather that developed early and persisted throughout the entire summer, along with abnormally strong winds, and an almost complete lack of significant precipitation." Henry describes the ways in which firefighters tried to manage the spread of the fires, the camps that were set up for work crews, and the overwhelming smoke clouds that formed. He reminds audiences that fires, as part of a cycle of rebirth and renewal, are "an integral element in natural ecosystems." Though Henry's writing lacks fluidity, his wonderful photographs included in the book help to convey the extraordinary power such wildfires contain and the massive impact they had on the landscape. Photos. (May)
Reviewed on: 06/22/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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