Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout by Philip Connors - review by Stephen Amidon

Stephen Amidon

Heat of the Moment

Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout


Macmillan 288pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

‘The life of the lookout’, Philip Connors writes in his account of a season as a fire spotter in New Mexico, ‘is a blend of monotony, geometry, and poetry.’ This proves an apt description of Fire Season as well, which features acute observations of nature and a fascinating history of North American wildfires, but is also lumbered with a meandering personal narrative.

Connors was a young subeditor on the arts desk of the Wall Street Journal when he decided to give up the glass and steel canyons of Manhattan for the mountain ranges of New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness, a 900-square-mile nature reserve where motorised vehicles, logging and agriculture are forbidden

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