- The Thirtymile Fire: A Chronicle of Bravery and Betrayal — On July 9, 2001, the hot exhaust of a state vehicle on fire patrol ignited the major Libby South Fire in the North Cascades Range in central Washington State. When a smaller blaze broke out later that evening some miles to the north in the narrow Church River canyon near the Canadian border, resources were already stretched, and only a small, rookie-laden crew was deployed. This Thirtymile Fire should have been a simple operation, but instead it blew up into a towering inferno of double fire-plumes spinning tornado-like in opposite directions, scorching 9,324 wildland acres. In two weeks, 1,000 firefighters and dozens of helicopters, bulldozers and other heavy equipment were deployed, costing $4.5 million and the lives of four fire fighters. A controversial official investigation claimed that the firefighters defied authority and bore responsibility for their own deaths. This is a gripping book written by an author who has done his research. It was recommended to me by Tim Anderson and makes clear that mistakes are made in other professions besides law enforcement and can be every bit as catastrophic. While the book is out of print it is still available and is well worth the extra effort to read it and include it in any risk management library for the safety services. It is especially useful in that it includes a section at the end of the book identifying the industry standards and comparing the mistakes made.
John N. Maclean, The Thirtymile Fire: A Chronicle of Bravery and Betrayal, Henry Holt and Company, New York, New York, 2007 (205 pages, excluding appendices)
Recommended by Sid Heal in Episodes 1 & 2