For two months in the spring of 2016, the world watched as wildfire ravaged the town of Fort McMurray. Firefighters named the fire “the Beast.” It seemed to be alive with destructive energy, and they hoped never to see anything like it again. Yet it’s not a stretch to imagine we will all soon live in a world in which fires like the Beast are commonplace. In Firestorm, Edward Struzik confronts this new reality, offering a deftly woven tale of science, economics, politics, and human determination. It’s possible for us to flourish in the coming age of megafires – but it will take a radical new approach that requires acknowledging that fires are no longer avoidable. Living with fire also means, Struzik reveals, that we must better understand how the surprising, far-reaching impacts of these massive fires will linger long after the smoke eventually clears.
Edward Struzik is an award-winning writer and photographer. A fellow at the School of Policy Studies, Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen University in Kingston, his numerous accolades include the prestigious Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy and the Sir Sandford Fleming Medal, awarded for outstanding contributions to the understanding of science. He is also the author of Future Arctic: Field Notes from a World on Edge. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta.
"An extraordinarily timely volume and one that should grace the shelves of every community and academic library in the country as a vital addition."
"A fascinating and much-need account of a new, fiercer era of forest fire. Struzik is a sure guide as we set out on an uncertain path through the smoky woods and beyond."
"Throughout Firestorm Struzik treats his readers to the exceptional analysis and exposition distinguishing him as one of our best science/environment/nature writers... It’s a must-read for anyone wanting to learn about our past relationship with wildfire, for anyone looking for suggestions about what needs to be done to retain some influence over how wildfire will figure in our future."
"Firestorm paints a comprehensive picture of the changes taking place in the boreal forest and how wildfires are reshaping Alberta...Struzik masterfully weaves together interviews with dozens of wildfire researchers and management experts."
"As greater and more destructive fires become the norm, this narrative should be required reading."
"Powerful and thought-provoking, Firestorm expertly frames emerging wildfire trends and future challenges. Offering a timely, insightful view of our changing wildfire paradigm, this book is a must-read for students of fire as well as anyone interested in understanding, preparing for, and acting on the ways wildfire will impact our communities."
"A new wildlife paradigm is emerging in North America's boreal forests...Edward Struzik's deft account interweaves reportage, science and policy to show how fires that are normally key to ecological resilience are growing bigger and faster, thawing permafrost, degrading watersheds and disrupting habitats of species from grizzly bears to fungi."
"An essential and crackling good read on the new reality of megafires...a new kind of prophetic non-fiction...Firestorm belongs in both depth and timeliness next to Elizabeth Kolbert's fascinating and grim account of the forces eroding biological diversity in The Sixth Extinction."
"Combining personal insights with keen investigative-journalistic skills, Struzik presents a comprehensive and compelling overview of the future of wildfire management."
"Struzik...cover[s] over a century of scorched earth where science, business, and politics have collided over and over again to produce ever-shifting policies of containment and prevention. Not just a remarkable history, the book also speculates about future where humans might not eradicate megafires, but thrive nonetheless."
"A crackling good read on why and how megafires are burning bigger, hotter, faster and wilder through North America’s forests. Science reporting so close to the ground that you can feel the heat."
"Struzik delivers a powerful message that will appeal to environmentally minded readers and students of climate change."
"Struzik's compelling narrative combines personal stories, photographs, history, and interviews with scientists, government officials, and the public. What emerges is a portrait of the intricacies of the forest management practices, settlement patterns, economic motivators, and political pressures that lead up to and influence decisions during these wildfires...Struzik warns readers of the bleak reality that may lie ahead if we continue 'business as usual,'…[but] does not forfeit hope...The decisions and policies we make now, as a nation and as a global community, will have a profound influence on what our world looks like in the future."
Combining personal insights with keen investigative-journalistic skills, Struzik presents a comprehensive and compelling overview of the future of wildfire management.
"Firestorm reads at times like an exhilarating novel but it is neither flippant nor alarmist...The book is a clear-eyed vision, expertly and compellingly told, of what's ahead as the climate warms...a fascinating page-turner."