Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894 (P.S.)

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9780061236259: Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894 (P.S.)

On September 1, 1894 two forest fires converged on the town of Hinckley, Minnesota, trapping over 2,000 people. Daniel J. Brown recounts the events surrounding the fire in the first and only book on to chronicle the dramatic story that unfolded. Whereas Oregon's famous "Biscuit" fire in 2002 burned 350,000 acres in one week, the Hinckley fire did the same damage in five hours. The fire created its own weather, including hurricane-strength winds, bubbles of plasma-like glowing gas, and 200-foot-tall flames. In some instances, "fire whirls," or tornadoes of fire, danced out from the main body of the fire to knock down buildings and carry flaming debris into the sky. Temperatures reached 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit--the melting point of steel. As the fire surrounded the town, two railroads became the only means of escape. Two trains ran the gauntlet of fire. One train caught on fire from one end to the other. The heroic young African-American porter ran up and down the length of the train, reassuring the passengers even as the flames tore at their clothes. On the other train, the engineer refused to back his locomotive out of town until the last possible minute of escape. In all, more than 400 people died, leading to a revolution in forestry management practices and federal agencies that monitor and fight wildfires today.Author Daniel Brown has woven together numerous survivors' stories, historical sources, and interviews with forest fire experts in a gripping narrative that tells the fascinating story of one of North America's most devastating fires and how it changed the nation.

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Review:

Illustrated with period pictures, this deft slice of regional history will attract disaster and weather buffs as well as fans of Norman Maclean s standout Young Men and Fire -- Publisher s Weekly"

[a] worthy addition to this genre a compelling read the power of the stories and Brown s imaginative skill retelling them [pulls] us in --MN Star Tribune"

Riveting, moving, white-knuckle reading to rank with classic accounts of the perfect storm, Krakatoa, and other storied calamities -- Booklist"

From the Back Cover:

On September 1, 1894 two forest fires converged on the town of Hinckley, Minnesota, trapping over two thousand people. Daniel James Brown recounts the events surrounding the fire in Under a Flaming Sky, the most gripping and comprehensive chronicle of how the dramatic story unfolded. Whereas Oregon s famous Biscuit fire in 2002 took more than a week to burn its first 350,000 acres, the Hinckley fire did the same amount of damage in only five hours. The fire created its own weather, including hurricane-strength winds, bubbles of plasma-like glowing gas, and 200-foot-tall flames. In some instances, fire whirls, or tornadoes of fire, danced out from the main body of the fire, knocking down buildings and carrying flaming debris high into the sky. Temperatures reached 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit the melting point of steel.As the fire surrounded the town, two railroads became the only means of escape. Both trains ran the gauntlet of fire. One train caught on fire from one end to the other. A heroic young African-American porter ran up and down the length of the train, reassuring the passengers even as the flames tore at their clothes. On the other train, the engineer refused to back out of town until the last possible minute of escape. In all, more than four hundred people died, leading to a revolution in forestry management practices and the birth of federal agencies that monitor and fight wildfires today."

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