Magazine
From Prison to Fireline
  • Digital Editions are available for our paid subscribers. Please login here.

  • If you wish to subscribe, click here.

August 5, 2019

In this issue, we take a closer look at one of the West’s harshest penal systems, where incarcerated wildfire fighters learn to see themselves anew. And we travel to Vado, New Mexico, where Borderland infrastructure challenges are a major setback. We delve into a labor trafficking case in Colorado and look at what coal’s free fall means for Wyoming. We interview New Mexico Rep. Xochitl Torres Small and explain the shortcomings in the Navy’s environmental review process. A writer takes us into the tyranny of landlords and their lawns, and we look at a fight over wolf management in Alaska, where lawmakers have learned how to undermine citizen-led initiatives. We review a debut story collection by author Kali Fajardo-Anstine and take a peek inside a pocket birding book’s makeover.

Feature

When Arizona catches fire, prisoners step up
When Arizona catches fire, prisoners step up
In one of the West’s harshest penal systems, incarcerated wildfire fighters learn to see themselves anew.
Who pays for infrastructure in Borderland colonias?
Who pays for infrastructure in Borderland colonias?
In places like Vado, New Mexico, good roads are hard to find.

Editor's Note

Where the incarceration and wildfire crises meet
Where the incarceration and wildfire crises meet
Prison firefighters are severely underpaid. And they’re the lucky ones.

Current

A family held their relatives captive; a community set them free
A family held their relatives captive; a community set them free
A labor trafficking case shows Westerners can sometimes still count on each other to protect those in need.
With coal in free fall, Wyoming faces an uncertain future
With coal in free fall, Wyoming faces an uncertain future
As demand shrinks and the industry retracts, counties and the state are in an untenable situation.
Rep. Xochitl Torres Small offers lessons in rural politics
Rep. Xochitl Torres Small offers lessons in rural politics
The Democratic congresswoman won a conservative region by talking about concerns all Westerners share.
Lawsuit filed against noisy flights over Olympic National Park
Lawsuit filed against noisy flights over Olympic National Park
Washington’s Attorney General points out shortcomings of the Navy’s environmental review.

Essays

The tyranny of lawns and landlords
The tyranny of lawns and landlords
Renting culture puts dreams of cultivating wildness out of reach.
See the journey to a new career at a wildland fire academy
See the journey to a new career at a wildland fire academy
Ex-gang members, veterans and immigrants alike take a three-month course to become California firefighters.

Book Reviews

The pocket birding book gets a makeover
The pocket birding book gets a makeover
Imaginatively spunky illustrations accompany avian anecdotes in BirdNote.
Grounding and grandmothers in a gentrifying Denver
Grounding and grandmothers in a gentrifying Denver
Denver author Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s rich debut story collection centers young female protagonists.

Perspective

How partisan politics can make ballot measures undemocratic
How partisan politics can make ballot measures undemocratic
A fight over wolf management in Alaska shows how lawmakers can undermine citizen-led initiatives.

Heard Around the West

Outdoor underachievers; mission massage; photo nots
Outdoor underachievers; mission massage; photo nots
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

Accolades and some new roles
Accolades and some new roles
New interns and a fellow arrive, and our editorial staff continues to morph.

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • CHAPTER DIRECTOR - IDAHO SIERRA CLUB
    Idaho could lead the nation in the transition to clean energy, and the Idaho Sierra Club is committed to making that happen. We seek to...
  • SEASONAL SAN JUAN RANGERS
    Seeking experienced crew members to patrol Colorado's most iconic mountain wilderness.
  • ENDANGERED SPECIES STAFF SCIENTIST
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a staff scientist to advocate for the conservation of endangered species. General position overview: The position will involve working...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY - ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM
    The Center for Biological Diversity - a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of imperiled plants, animals and wild places - seeks a dynamic...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a Staff Attorney to join our team of attorneys, scientists, campaigners who are working to protect America's public lands...
  • SOUTHWEST CONSERVATION ADVOCATE
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a Southwest Conservation Advocate to join our team of attorneys, scientists and campaigners who are working to protect America's...
  • OCEANS PROGRAM CAMPAIGNER
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks an experienced campaigner for its oceans program. The aim of the position is to campaign for the protection of...
  • CLIMATE LAW INSTITUTE ATTORNEY
    The Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute is looking to add an attorney to its team and will consider applicants at both staff attorney...
  • FULL-TIME CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a full-time Campaign Director in our Climate Law Institute to join our campaign for progressive, urgent government action to...
  • WESTERN WATER PROJECT MANAGER
    National Wildlife Federation is hiring NM-based position focused on riparian corridors, watershed health. Learn more and apply online: https://www.nwf.org/about-us/careers
  • ASSOCIATE PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Position Title: Associate Program Director Location: New Mexico; flexible in state Position reports to: Senior Program Director Position Closes: March 13, 2020 GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The...
  • DEAN, W. A. FRANKE COLLEGE OF FORESTRY AND CONSERVATION, UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA
    Dean, W. A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, apply http://bit.ly/2548umjobs. AA/EEO/ADA/Veterans Preference Employer
  • GRAPHIC DESIGNER
    Western Resource Advocates (WRA) seeks a creative and driven graphic design professional to design high quality print and digital collateral. The Graphic Designer will bring...
  • STEWARDSHIP SPECIALIST
    San Isabel Land Protection Trust seeks experienced person to manage its 133 conservation easements in south-central Colorado.
  • CAMPAIGN REPRESENTATIVE
    Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign is hiring an experienced campaigner to lead our work challenging the oil and fracked gas industry on the Gulf...
  • AG LANDS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Oregon Agricultural Trust (OAT) seeks passionate relationship builder experienced in coordinating agricultural conservation easement transactions.
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • FINANCE DIRECTOR
    Mountain Studies Inst (MSI) is hiring 4+ positions: Finance Director; Coms/Engagmnt Mngr; Dev/Engagmnt Dir; Americorps vol
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
    Mountain Studies Inst (MSI) is hiring 4+ positions: Finance Director; Dev/Engagement Dir; Coms/Engagement Mngr; & Americorps volunteer
  • SEASONAL TRAIL CREW LEADERS
    Lead the nation's premier volunteer-based trail crew programs on the spectacular Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. This is a great career-building opportunity for rising professionals....