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Of writers and fires

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As a retired high school English teacher and member of the Western Literary Association since 1976, I truly enjoyed the books and essay issue and read every article (HCN, 10/29/07).

Ray Ring's review of two books on firefighting was especially interesting. I gave a paper at last October's WLA meeting in Boise on blowups and needless deaths since the Mann Gulch fire, culminating in the Thirtymile Fire. I used George R. Stewart's Fire, Norman Maclean's Young Men and Fire, and John Maclean's two earlier books plus some correspondence with him about Thirtymile.

I'd like to give a plug to JoAnn Roe of Bellingham, to add to the list of Pacific Northwest writers of note by Brian Doyle. Her The North Cascadians (1980) was followed by Ghost Camps and Boom Towns (1995), The North Cascades Highway (1997) and Stevens Pass Highway (reprinted in 2002). Her book Frank Matsura: Frontier Photographer (1981) contains a group of black and white photographs he took in Okanogan County from 1903 to 1913. He died of consumption in 1913.

Bob Lyon
Bellevue, Washington

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