Many resources and some superb input from firefighting professionals and others have contributed significantly to the writing of Drip Torch. I had written earlier versions of this book during two different time periods, but beginning in 2013 I tackled this project yet again and by spring 2014 had completed another draft, one polished enough for seeking input. An individual named “Ab,” who manages a very fine website for wildland firefighters (Wildland Fire–www.wildlandfire.com), kindly posted my request for technical feedback from professional firefighters, and quickly many career firefighters responded. My plea was for them to detect and point out anything in the manuscript that was “b.s.” Among those who read all or parts of the manuscript, I’d especially like to thank J.N., M.J., and L.L. They identified numerous corrections, ranging from terminology for crews and supervisors, the proper direction for exiting and entering a helicopter (I’d forgotten!), how fire shelters had changed in 1988, and much more. Some of the feedback inspired me to keep writing, including the following:
“A good playful book with some drama and excitement. I really enjoyed the read. I found the book to be very entertaining. I look forward to your next one.”
Thank you so very much to those of you who spent time reviewing the manuscript for technical errors in the depiction of fires and firefighting.
One page-turner of a book that documents all the Yellowstone fires of 1988 with extensive interviews of key participants is Fire in Paradise by Micah Morrison. Yellowstone on Fire by the Billings Gazette provides an excellent overview of the dramatic events. In Hotshot, John Buckley’s recounting stories of a hotshot firefighter reminded me of my own experiences. One such incident, the invasion of mountain goats at a firecamp in Palm Springs, brought me a big smile of recognition, because I was also there as a hotshot firefighter when it happened. Other documents and videos on the worldwide web proved to be very helpful. Here are a few that I used quite a bit:
- S. Forest Service Hotshots website: http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/people/hotshots/index.html
- Fire Growth Maps for the 1988 Greater Yellowstone Area Fires: http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_int/int_gtr304.pdf
- The Yellowstone Fires of 1988—Nat’l Park Service: http://www.nps.gov/yell/naturescience/upload/firesupplement.pdf
- Fire Shelter Deployment: Stories, US Forest Service Missoula Technology and Development Center: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTjug05B4KNt-OVXS8Ce93vqSufg-sOmY
- Historical Wildland Fire Fatalities, 1910-1996: http://www.nwcg.gov/pms/docs/fat_pdf.pdf
Definitely two other individuals provided very helpful feedback, particularly about the characters—my wife and my daughter. In exchange for my cooking their dinners, over a period of months they listened and responded while they ate those meals and I read aloud the latest passages I’d written. I thank both of them dearly for their criticisms and encouragements.