Fire In The Heart: A Memoir Of Friendship, Loss, And Wildfire by Mary EmerickFire In The Heart: A Memoir Of Friendship, Loss, And Wildfire by Mary Emerick

Fire In The Heart: A Memoir Of Friendship, Loss, And Wildfire

byMary Emerick

Hardcover | September 5, 2017

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FIRE IN THE HEART is a powerful memoir by a woman, once a shy, insecure schoolgirl, who reinvented herself as a professional wildlands firefighter. Determined to forge herself into a stronger, braver person, Mary devotes herself to fire from the Florida swamp to Alaska's interior. Filled with literal struggles for survival, tough choices and Mary's burning passion for what she does, Fire in the Heart, is an unflinching account of one woman's relationship with fire. But when she loses a close friend to the famous Storm King Mountain forest fire in Colorado, which killed fourteen firefighters, Mary faces the hardest choice of her life; to stay in the game or turn back and try to find the woman she used to be. It is both a thrilling memoir about life-threatening work and a meditation on identity, strength, bravery, bonds, and survivor's guilt.
Mary Emerick was a wildland firefighter for over 20 years, and the author of her novel, THE GEOGRAPHY OF WATER. Mary has published numerous essays in anthologies, magazines and online publications. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2011. She currently lives and works for the US Forest Service in Joseph, Oregon. http://maryeme...
Title:Fire In The Heart: A Memoir Of Friendship, Loss, And WildfireFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:September 5, 2017Publisher:ArcadeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1628728434

ISBN - 13:9781628728439

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Read from the Book

Fire in the Heart: A Memoir of Friendship, Loss, and WildfireMary EmerickExcerptChapter OneI had been fighting fire for so long that I was not even sure what day it was. In the last two weeks the days had blurred together in a constant waking dream of smoke and fatigue. Roll out of the sleeping bag, pull on stiff leather boots, grab my pack and tool, dig fireline for sixteen hours, fall into bed, clothes still on. Repeat.The state of my flame-resistant Nomex shirt might be a clue. I thought that I must have been wearing it for at least five days for it to smell this bad. My Kevlar pants were worse, stiffly crusted with spilled saw fuel. I thought that I remembered taking a shower two days ago, though my legs were permanently stained black from walking through knee deep ash. My long hair was knotted into dreadlocks under my sky-blue hard hat; my lips scabbed from sun and wind. I did not look or feel like a woman anymore. I was not anything substantial, just a constant motion. I only bent with the Pulaski in a kind of endless dance. Scrape the duff down to mineral soil. Take another step. Ignore the sweat that trickled down my neck and between my breasts. Shove everything else-hunger, thirst, regret, fear-deep beneath, in some other place.The sound of deep fire coughs echoed down the line. We had all sucked in enough smoke to equal two packs today. There were no masks light enough to wear and still do this job. We did it half-assed instead, pulling bandannas over our noses and mouths. The smoke filtered in anyway. Weeks after I left here I knew that the tightness in my chest would linger.The rest of the twenty person fire crew was falling into the usual grooves, the kind that you ground into after a few days on the same fire. Like a martini, the crew had been shaken up enough so that the contents had settled. I knew who the slackers were, and the free-lancers, and the good ones. There were those who could save your butt if things go south, and others who would fall apart, lose it, and get burned up.I couldn't think about that tonight. Instead I kept an eye on the crew, because invariably they were doing something they should not. "Look into the green!" I yelled down the line. The rookies were making the typical mistake of staring mesmerized at the fire itself. It was an impressive sight as it jumped into the tops of black spruce and sizzled in the oven-dry needles. But where we really needed to be looking was in the green, unburned section, our backs to the fire. This was where spot fires could blossom, caused by unseen sparks tossed across by wind. Firebrands, they were called, and the analysts in camp carefully concocted predictions of ignition in terms of percentages. The scale went up to one hundred percent, meaning that if an ember was to fall on unshaded vegetation, there was a hundred percent chance of a spot fire beginning there.

Editorial Reviews

"Emerick vividly recounts the extremely taxing physical requirements, the deadly conditions firefighters consistently endure, and the ever present lure of adventure and camaraderie each fire provides....A moving and bittersweet memoir of a woman's love affair with a unique profession."--Kirkus Reviews"This is a story of love, friendship, wildfire, and death written in vivid prose fresh from the fireline. Mary Emerick was a little girl with spindly arms and legs who toughed it out to become a career wildland firefighter, hoping for "the big one" in the West and filling in the offseason as a "panther babe" on burns in Florida. There's as much heart as fire in this book. It took a "big one," the South Canyon Fire on Storm King Mountain, to bring home the deepest meanings of love, loss, and the bittersweet renewal of life that follows the flames." --John N. Maclean, author of Fire on the Mountain: The True Story of the South Canyon Fire, and other books."Masterful! A beautiful, gripping exploration of Mary Emerick's twenty-five-year journey through the insular, dangerous, hyper-masculine world of wildfire. In riveting prose, Emerick writes of what she gave up-and what she gained-by choosing a life as a wildland firefighter. Fire in the Heart is a thoughtful meditation on the impact of wildland fire suppression on the American landscape, and on one woman's heart. I love this book!"-Mary Pauline Lowrey, author of Wildfire: a Novel"Hour by hour, season by season, fire by fire, readers crisscross the country with Emerick as she rises to the challenges of this difficult life, even as she asks herself whether she can ever stop moving and find another kind of life, where staying might not mean entrapment, where freedom means home." --Bette Lynch Husted, author of Above the Clearwater: Living on Stolen Land "Imagine facing a wildfire with nothing more than a pulaski and a drip torch. Now, imagine you are a young woman on a crew comprised mainly of athletic young men out to prove something to themselves and to each other. You're carrying a 40-pound pack on your back and slung under the pack is a deployable fire shelter that you may, or may not need, for your survival. Should the fire jump the line. Should you not be able to reach your safety zone. It will depend on the wind, the relative humidity, and things intangible, like luck. Like fate. Like bravery. Fire in the Heart is Mary Emerick's lyrical meditation on one woman's search for identity. A mesmerizing and compelling story of fire and courage and love and transformation."--Pamela Royes author of Temperance Creek, a memoir"Mary Emerick's journey back to nature is one in search of herself. After two decades of fighting wildfire, she came home with the kind of stories we all need to hear; stories that help us understand that at times, we can be brave, we can be strong, we can be fully human." Murry A. Taylor, author of Jumping Fire: A Smokejumper's Memoir of Fighting Wildfire"Beautiful. Riveting. Satisfying. An honor to read."--Ellen Airgood, author of South of Superior"Emerick's story unfolds much like a fire. There are quiet moments at dusk, staring off into the distance, mesmerized by the particular beauty of fire. How landscapes and people take hold of our lives and change us. How wildfire and fighting fire regenerates. And frantic moments of trying to stay one step ahead: of catastrophe, of personal transformation, of grief. To read "Fire in the Heart" is to become part of the link in the chain, to find your place on the fire line, to understand more deeply what it means to be a wildlands firefighter and to keep one foot always in the black."--Cameron Scott, author of The Book of Cold Mountain, winner of The Blue Light Press Poetry Prize"A tough and tender tale of human bonds forged through fire. Riveting." --Elizabeth Enslin, author of While the Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal