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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An action-packed, on-the-ground memoir of the Fort McMurray wildfire and the courage, resilience, and sacrifice of the firefighters who saved the city.

In May 2016, what began as a remote forest fire quickly became a nightmare for the ninety thousand residents of Fort McMurray. A perfect combination of weather, geography and circumstance created a raging wildfire that devoured everything in its path. Winds drove the flames towards the town, forcing the entire population to evacuate. As the fire swept through neighbourhoods, it fell to the men and women of the fire department to protect the city.

Born and raised in Fort McMurray, Damian Asher was a fifteen-year veteran and captain in the city’s fire department. Day after day, Damian and his crew remained on the front lines of the burning city. As embers rained down around them, they barely slept, pushing their minds and bodies to the brink as they struggled to contain the fire. As he led his crew through the smoke and the flames, Damian had little time to worry about whether the house he had built for his family was still standing. With media unable to get into the locked-down city, the world watched in hope and fear, wondering what was happening on the fiery streets.

Finally, after weeks of battling the wildfire, the firefighters managed to regain control. When the smoke cleared, much of the city had been destroyed. Would things ever be the same? How would the city reunite? What would it take to rebuild life 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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