A stunning account of this century's most intense urban fire, and a panoramic exploration of the rapidly changing relationship between fire and humankind
In May 2016, Fort McMurray, Alberta, the hub of Canada's oil industry, was overrun by wildfire. The multi-billion-dollar disaster turned entire neighbourhoods into firebombs and drove 88,000 people from their homes in a single afternoon. Through the lens of this apocalyptic conflagration, John Vaillant reveals a shocking preview of what we must prepare for in a hotter, more flammable world.
For hundreds of millennia, fire has been a partner in our evolution, shaping culture and civilization. Yet this volatile energy has always threatened to elude our control, and in our age of intensifying climate change, we are seeing its destructive power unleashed in ways never witnessed by human beings.
With masterly prose and cinematic style, Vaillant explores the intertwined histories of the oil industry and climate science, the unprecedented devastation wrought by modern forest fires, and the lives forever changed by these disasters. Fire Weather is an urgent book for our new century of fire.
John Vaillant lives in Vancouver. His first book, The Golden Spruce, won the Canadian Governor General's Award for non-fiction. He has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Outside, National Geographic and Men's Journal, among other publications. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife and children.