Inside the Inferno: A Firefighter's Story of the Brotherhood that Saved Fort McMurray

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Simon and Schuster, May 2, 2017 - Biography & Autobiography - 224 pages
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"On May 1, one of the worst natural disasters in Canada's history struck Fort McMurray. What began as a small, remote forest quickly became a nightmare for the 90,000 residents of the city. A perfect combination of weather, geography, and circumstance had created a wildfire that was more dangerous than anyone could have imagined. As winds drove the flames towards Fort McMurray, the entire city population was ordered to evacuate. When the fire leapt across the river and started to devour everything in its path, the only people left to face it were the firefighters and support crew tasked with protecting the city. Born and raised in Fort McMurray, Damian Asher was a fifteen year veteran of the city's fire department. When the order went out for all firefighters to report for duty, Damian stopped work on his family's house-which he was building by hand-sent his wife and children out of town, and answered the call. For thirteen straight days, Damian and his crew were on the frontlines of the fire, battling the blaze wherever it encroached upon the city. As homes burned and embers rained down around them, Damian and the rest of the Brotherhood barely slept, rushing from hotspot to hotspot as they struggled to contain the fire. Aid poured in from around the world and the country watched in hope and fear, wondering what was happening on the streets of Fort McMurray. Finally, after weeks of fighting a wildfire that appeared insatiable, the Brotherhood managed to regain control of the city. But the fire had more than left its mark - billions of dollars of damage, exhausted emergency workers, and a scattered citizenry were left in its wake. When Damian's family returned to their home, they found that it and all of their possessions had been burned to the ground. It seemed as though things would never be the same. And yet, as the smoke dissipated and the city reunited, there was hope that life would resume in Fort McMurray."--
 

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Contents

Prologue
1
BEFORE THE BLAZE
7
Like Any Other Monday
9
Activating the War Room
27
A False Sense of Security
39
RAINING EMBERS
51
The Battle Begins
53
Emergency Traffic Emergency Traffic
74
Critical Infrastructure
121
TAMING THE BEAST
135
The Battle of Birchwood Trails
137
Creative Destruction
157
Second Wind
167
Fortitude
185
Rebuild
197
EPILOGUE
211

Making It Up as We Go Along
85
Reconnaissance
109
Acknowledgements
215
Copyright

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About the author (2017)

Damian Asher is a captain in the Fort McMurray Fire Department. A fifteen-year veteran, Damian is charged with protecting not only the city but also the lives of the men and women around him. In his spare time, Damian works as a contractor, building homes by hand. He lives in Fort McMurray with his wife and two children.

Omar Mouallem is a National Magazine Award–winning writer who lives in Edmonton. His work has appeared in many publications, including Wired, the Guardian, and Reader’s Digest. He also sits on the board of LitFest, Canada’s nonfiction book festival, and Eighteen Bridges magazine.

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