Fire on the Mountain

  • by John N. MacLean
  • Narrated by John N. MacLean
  • 6 hrs and 45 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On the morning of July 3, 1994, the site of a forest fire on Storm King Mountain in Colorado was wrongly recorded by the district's Bureau of Land Management office as taking place in South Canyon, thereby mislabeling forever one of the greatest tragedies in the annals of firefighting. That seemingly small human error foreshadowed the numerous other minor errors that, three days later, would be compounded into the deaths of 14 firefighters, four of them women. In this dramatic reconstruction of the disaster and its aftermath, John N. MacLean tells the heroic and cautionary story of people who were experts in their field but became the victims of nature at its most unforgiving.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

As a wildland firefighter it's a book that matters

In early July 1994 my girlfriend at the time and I were fighting a small 65 acre fire near Dotsero, about 40 miles from Glenwood Springs. Our incident commander was Butch Blanco. When he was redeployed to South Canyon, we begged to go with him as our fire was winding down and as young, broke Forest Service employees, it was our best chance to stay in overtime and hazard pay status. In hindsight, I consider it a stroke of unimaginable luck that we didn't get sent to South Canyon.

This book brought a lot of things home for me. I remember that summer with vivid details. I drove a load of smoke jumpers to the hospital in Glenwood to visit Eric Hipke, perhaps the last man to make it out of that box canyon alive. This book brings all those stories to life. It brings back the stories of those courageous fire fighters to life in a way that yields both compelling drama and lessons that need to be heeded. I'm devastated that these lessons have been learned before and these events continue to happen. I'm deeply saddened at the events in Arizona this summer and wish for God's sake that John MacLean would run out of stories to tell. But if anybody is going to tell the story it's John and his father (Young Men and Fire). They tell the story honestly, respectfully, and in a manner that entertains as it educates.

If you work in wildland fire fighting or live in the Wildland Urban Interface, this is a must read. Seriously, I wouldn't trust anyone I worked with who didn't read it. It's a compelling story that is rich with lessons that really should never have to be re-learned again.
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- Mark "I spend 90+ minutes a day in my car, Audible makes it enjoyable regardless of what's happening in traffic. My taste varies from endurance fitness to economics and from to combat stories and romance novels."


Incredible! I love real adventure stories and would recommend this to any adventurous travelers!!!
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- Brendon

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-18-2000
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio