Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 11 to 18
- Grade: 6 to 12
- Reading age: 11 to 18
Escape from the Wildfire offers a fictional account based on the real-life facts of the disastrous wildfire of 2021 that destroyed the town of Lytton after days of scorching heat. Dorothy Bentley’s own experiences of living through a wildfire led her to research the experience of Lytton residents so she could write the story of a resilient teen surviving an environmental catastrophe.
The summer of 2021 is hot even for B.C.’s arid interior under a record-breaking heat dome. Fourteen-year-old Jack hangs out with his friends Scott, Tess, and Indigenous teen Rory. On June 30, a wildfire inferno descends with horrifying suddenness. Jack must flee for his life, evacuated to a nearby town. Jack and his friends are aware of the context and possible causes of the wildfire He must come to terms with the loss of his entire village, the idea of starting all over again, and the need to change how we interact with the climate we depend on to survive.
Dorothy Bentley has written an adventure story for our time, enabling young readers to consider the consequences of ever more frequent disasters triggered by climate change.
About the author
Dorothy Bentley was born in Southern Ontario and has made Alberta her home for many years. She has taught creative writing, written a newspaper column, and now works for the Writer’s Guild of Alberta. A nature enthusiast, she enjoys outdoor activities and is an advocate of tree planting. Surviving the trauma of a devastating wildfire herself inspired her to research and write about the topic. She is also the author of a picture book for young readers, Summer North Coming, Winter North Coming. She lives near Okotoks, Alberta.