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Extreme Wildfire: Smoke Jumpers, High-Tech Gear, Survival Tactics, and the Extraordinary Science of Fire Paperback – August 30, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Wildlife photographer Thiessen shares stories of forest fires he has photographed. He recounts his experience of attending fire school and relates what students (mostly volunteers) learn there. Scientific terms explain how fires get started, what fuels a fire, and the causes of wildfires. Respectful accounts of the jobs these men and women do are detailed without glorification. For each role, the required training, the equipment commonly used, and the dangers involved are covered. Some stories of loss are included to remind readers of the reality of the work. The negative and positive effects of a wildfire on a habitat are presented. Most of the color photographs are Thiessen's, and they clearly show the power of fires. Candid photos of firefighters battling blazes are also depicted. All contain a caption or additional information. VERDICT Beneficial material for a discussion on the pros and cons of forest fires. An additional purchase.—Sandra Welzenbach, Villarreal Elementary School, San Antonio
"As is standard with offerings from National Geographic Kids, this presents a confluence of current events, human geography, ecology, physics, and job exploration… the narrative is filled with anecdotes and context that can only come from first-hand knowledge… this book’s stunning images and insider insight provide an in-depth introduction to understanding and controlling [wildfires]." -- Booklist
"Fans of action and adventure fiction and nonfiction, such as the “I Survived” series, will be mesmerized by the true-life stories. Those interested in science will find plenty of information about chemistry and geology." -- School Library Journal
"Thrilling and gut wrenching photographs by author and photographer Mark Thiessen bring the experience of wildland firefighters to life...Thiessen’s first-hand accounts provide knowledge of the training needed to enter this line of work...this book will capture young readers’ interest in learning about these natural disasters." -- School Library Connection
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Extreme Wildfire: Smoke Jumpers, High-Tech Gear, Survival Tactics, and the Extraordinary Science of Fire really goes way beyond the old "Smokey Bear" fire prevention materials. The stunning photographs of Mark Thiessen are definitely close up and personal. He is truly a brave heart with the use of his camera and has captured the danger, intensity, and destructive beauty of raging fire. But this is not just a book of stunning photographs, the reader will learn that fires are a necessary part of the ecological system. Well, we just don't want ecology to get out of hand, though, so when fire rages, firefighters engage in preventive protection.
Some "famous" fires are recounted. I found it interesting that famous fires are tagged with names. Not dissimilar to the naming of tropical storms. The book has boxes of special information tucked away along the sides of the pages that are interestingly presented and packed with tidbits of information. "Fire Fact: You might think that attacking fire from the air is free of risk. But there's no such thing when it comes to firefighting. In fact, from 1990 through 2006, nearly a fourth of the 310 deaths of wildland firefighters in the United States came from aircraft accidents."
I found the section on Smoke Jumpers interesting. A smoke jumper is a firefighter that parachutes right onto the scene of a raging fire. "1-2-3- Jump! The plane approaches the fire's location. Twelve or so smoke jumpers are ready to go. But they don't just pile out and take their chances. Here's a 3-step procedure to make sure they hit their mark safely: 1) Find a safe place....., 2) Check the wind...., 3) Jump...."
It is also interesting the comparison of the United States and Russia in fighting fires - especially smoke jumpers. I like that Thiessen includes pictures from Russia as well as the United States.
I had a nephew that was a firefighter and fought wildfires all over the United States. It was fascinating to delve into this book of Extreme Wildfire information and see pictures that told the story that could easily have been his experience as well as that of many who have served to save our homes and our forests.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review of my opinions without compensation. Giveaway copy will be mailed directly to the winner by the publicist or publisher.
Amazing photos of fires blazing through forests and over grasslands is not all what readers will find. The fire triangle (heat, fuel and oxygen) are what’s needed to grow a fire. Readers will see bits of facts in colorful boxes throughout the pages. A history of fires and how firefighters prepare to tackle them is also here. Some firefighters jump from planes others camp out close to the burning area. Readers will even see the various types of planes that carry equipment, water and chemicals that will help extinguish these raging blazes. “Wildfires generally spread outward in a V-pattern. The point, or base, of the charred V-shaped landscape is a good place to search for the fire’s origin and cause. But no single clue is foolproof.
Children of all ages, parents and teachers will be able to open this book and learn about wildfires, how they burn, spreads and take over land and sometimes lives. Readers will see and feel the emotion of the firefighters and the devastation these fires cause. The back of the book has a glossary of terms, how to prepare an emergency kit for the home and resources for further reading and learning.