Monday, September 12, 2016

Extreme Wildfire: Smoke Jumpers, High-Tech Gear, Survival Tactics, and the Extraordinary Science of Fire Fighting by Mark Thiessen [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN13: 9781426325304
Paperback $12.99
My thoughts: National Geographic Kids publications have a knack for being spot-on with interesting materials that are captivating to the young reader (and the parents, too). Their publications prove entertaining and educational providing information in a manner that appeals and grabs their attention - many times over.

Extreme Wildfire: Smoke Jumpers, High-Tech Gear, Survival Tactics, and the Extraordinary Science of Fire really goes way beyond the old "Smokey Bear" fire prevention materials. The stunning photographs of Mark Thiessen are definitely close up and personal. He is truly a brave heart with the use of his camera and has captured the danger, intensity, and destructive beauty of raging fire. But this is not just a book of stunning photographs, the reader will learn that fires are a necessary part of the ecological system. Well, we just don't want ecology to get out of hand, though, so when fire rages, firefighters engage in preventive protection.

Some "famous" fires are recounted. I found it interesting that famous fires are tagged with names. Not dissimilar to the naming of tropical storms. The book has boxes of special information tucked away along the sides of the pages that are interestingly presented and packed with tidbits of information. "Fire Fact: You might think that attacking fire from the air is free of risk. But there's no such thing when it comes to firefighting. In fact, from 1990 through 2006, nearly a fourth of the 310 deaths of wildland firefighters in the United States came from aircraft accidents."

I found the section on Smoke Jumpers interesting. A smoke jumper is a firefighter that parachutes right onto the scene of a raging fire. "1-2-3- Jump! The plane approaches the fire's location. Twelve or so smoke jumpers are ready to go. But they don't just pile out and take their chances. Here's a 3-step procedure to make sure they hit their mark safely: 1) Find a safe place....., 2) Check the wind...., 3) Jump...."

It is also interesting the comparison of the United States and Russia in fighting fires - especially smoke jumpers. I like that Thiessen includes pictures from Russia as well as the United States.

I had a nephew that was a firefighter and fought wildfires all over the United States. It was fascinating to delve into this book of Extreme Wildfire information and see pictures that told the story that could easily have been his experience as well as that of many who have served to save our homes and our forests.

About the book: In one moment, there’s a simple spark, and then roaring flames surge 200 feet into the air, devouring forests. Trees, from root to canopy, are burned to the ground. Airtankers and helicopters hover above, executing an air attack. Brave firefighters, equipped with flame resistant suits, leap from helicopters onto the treetops and descend to the blazing forest floor.

In this book, young readers will learn about the ecological impacts of wildfires, the ins and outs of fire science including tactics for prevention and containment, cutting-edge technology used to track wildfires and predict fire behavior, and about the impressive skill, survival tactics, and bravery required to control a wildfire. Also included are expert tips, fun facts, and breathtaking photos taken by the author.

Author info: Mark Thiessen has 20+ years of photographing fires up close. From a searing expanse of flames in Russia to barreling blazes in California, no wildfire is too extreme for Mark Thiessen. Based in D.C., he has traveled across the globe investigating dangerous infernos and working alongside courageous firefighting teams. Mark is available for interview and can talk about his why his idea of a vacation is placing himself in the middle of blazing fires, fire prevention techniques and tips and the effects of fires on the environment and wildlife.  Here is a terrific video featuring Mark and his adventures:

Begins September 12
ENDS October 1 @ 12:02 a.m ET
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review of my opinions without compensation. Giveaway copy will be mailed directly to the winner by the publicist or publisher.


  1. The fire tornado was pretty amazing. Neve saw one of those before!

  2. 1. I like the article, "Mission to Neptune." Very informative!
    2. "Mammals" is a fun and educational article for children!

  3. Looks fascinating! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on!

  4. I like the content which gives kids a chance to learn about different places, magnificent animals and other species. I also like how brightly colored the site is and how easy it is to access what you are searching for. I also like the fun games and contests, especially the photography contest.


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