On the morning of July 3, 1994, a misreported forest fire on Storm King Mountain in Colorado became one of the greatest tragedies in the annals of firefighting. In this dramatic reconstruction of the disaster and its aftermath, John N. MacLean tells the heroic and cautionary story of nature at its most unforgiving.
The Esperanza Fire started October 26, 2006, in the San Jacinto Mountains above the Banning Pass near Cabazon, California. It destroyed 41,000 acres and dozens of homes and cost the taxpayers $16 million dollars. But by far the highest costs of the conflagration were the lives of the five-man crew of Engine 57, the first engine crew ever killed fighting a wildland blaze. Fire and superheated gases had erupted in a freak "area ignition," sending flames racing across three-quarters of a mile in mere seconds, engulfing the crew and the house they were defending.
"Excellent account of a tragic story"
After two years of intense physical therapy following his crippling accident, John Maclean set a new course for himself when his father encouraged him to embrace his new reality and asked, "How far can you go?" Inspired, Maclean became the first paraplegic to complete the Ironman World Championship and swim the English Channel before going on to win a silver medal for rowing at the 2008 Paralympic Games - yet these achievements did not come easily or on his first try.