"Inferno by Committee"

The Inside Story of the Cerro Grande (Los Alamos) Fire America's Worst Prescribed Fire Disaster.
Now Available! Inspired by the tradition of Norman Maclean, "Inferno by Committee" delves into the May 2000 prescribed fire that escaped its unit boundaries and burned into Los Alamos, New Mexico and the nuclear weapons laboratory there. Two hundred and fifty homes were burned. The fire was the most costly wildfire in US history.

Until now, the true story of the fire has never been told. Media reports at the time were simplistic and polarizing. Politically influenced investigations further clouded the picture.

"Inferno by Committee" looks at the land management history before the fire, agency interactions, the management of the prescribed fire and the efforts to contain the fire once it was declared a wildfire. The story that emerges is fascinating, both for the general reader and for fire professionals. Along the way you'll learn how fires are managed and how the Cerro Grande Fire changed federal fire management.
Inferno by Committee, the True Story of the Cerro Grande Fire
 A NEW BOOK on the Cerro Grande Fire, Now Available!
(Keywords: Cerro Grande Fire, Los Alamos Fire, Bandelier National Monument, Prescribed fire, controlled burns, National Park Service, wildfire, fire books, fire history, land use history, Southwest history, Santa Fe National Forest, Los Alamos.)

The Cerro Grande (Los Alamos) Fire was one of the most important fires in American history. Though fortunately it did not result in human fatalities, the issues that it exposed in terms of fire management across the federal government resulted in profound changes to federal wildland fire management that have affected all agencies.

Cerro Grande was a fascinating fire both from a "what went wrong" perspective and from a historical and social perspective. Everyone interested in wildfire would benefit from understanding the history of this billion dollar fire.

Inferno by Committee is the complete, inside story of the Cerro Grande Fire, its historic origins, its start as a prescribed fire project, the dominoes of disaster, the battle against a rapidly escalating inferno, the investigations and the lessons learned.

"Inferno by Committee" a new book by fire fighter and science journalist Tom Ribe delves into the history of this 42,000 acre blaze, looking at the natural history of fire in the Southwest, human attitudes toward fire and the land, then efforts by National Park Service managers to correct decades of land abuse. It delves into the fire from a professional fire manager perspective while telling a story the public can understand.
It gives a blow-by blow account of the real story of the fire's escape from Bandelier National Monument and its spread into Los Alamos and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
This book is written for the general public and fire professionals interested in forest fires, public lands, public land management, wildfire, the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, Los Alamos, New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory, fire management, the Cerro Grande Fire, Los Alamos Fire, sheep grazing, livestock grazing, forest thinning, prescribed fire, fire investigation, Bandelier National Monument, the Valles Caldera National Preserve, the Santa Fe National Forest, the Manhattan Project, New Mexico Hispanic history, Pueblo history and extreme fire behavior.

“Tom Ribe's clear, scrupulous and thorough account of the Los Alamos/Bandelier fire of 2000 is a white-knuckle narrative, yet meticulously accurate.”
—Roger G. Kennedy, Former Director, U.S. National Park Service; Director Emeritus, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution and author of
Wildfire and Americans.

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