Fire and Hotshots

This year our son Toby got his dream job with the Tahoe Hotshots. Not very relaxing for his parents, but he’s doing what he loves most: fighting fire up close.


Most of us are aware what hotshots do and what dangers they face after the tragedy of the Granite Mountain Hotshots this summer. And most of us have moved on to other topics. And that’s good because we can’t live in a constant state of sadness and tragedy.

We have more awareness and knowledge now. I would like to add 3 books and a song to this.

The Books

Most likely we will never read any books about fire, but that would be a mistake. There are three excellent ones out there. Hard to put down and very informative and page turning reading.

1. Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean. It tells the story of the Mann Gulch fire where 13 firefighters died August 5, 1949. This date, just a few days ago, inspired this post.

2. Fire on the Mountain by John N. Maclean, Norman Maclean’s son. This is about the South Canyon fire in Colorado where 14 firefighters were killed, 9 from the Oregon Prineville hotshots.

3. The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt & the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan. This is more history than anything else. I would read anything by Timothy Egan he is so knowledgeable and informative on the subjects he writes about. The fire he’s reporting on in this book is the massive 1910 fire where over 100 firefighters died.

And here is the incredibly moving song about the Mann Gulch Fire:

The experience I have with hotshots is watching our son. They work extremely hard. The qualifications might not seem so daunting, but keeping in shape by running up mountains with gear on your back on a daily basis. And if this were not enough, push ups and pull ups right after. It is extreme, but has to be considering the situations they are facing. Toby works with a tool and trades off as a swamper. If you want to know a little more, wiki has a nice article:

And if you are interested in the Tahoe hotshots here is an article from last year. Some of the personnel has changed but some are the same people Toby is working with now.



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2 Responses to Fire and Hotshots

  1. Therese says:

    We need to celebrate these men and women, all heroes in my book, before they are needed not just during a fire!

  2. Reading your entry, I could hardly believe what you are writing. it is surely not a coincidence that I now follow your blog.
    I follow Mike McMillan at and Smokejumper Joe Don Morton at, for some time now, and have the greatest respect for the work USA hotshots and firefighters do. Amazingly Awesome people.
    Thanks for a great post and book suggestions.

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