It’s the introvert’s dream job, and one that has attracted many writers. Edward Abbey. Jack Kerouac. Norman Maclean. There’s a long literary history of the lonely fire lookout. And until now, the best way to understand this solitary lifestyle, and critical occupation, was the written word.
After reading Philip Connors’ Fire Season last summer, which is a beautiful meditation on the life and culture of this job, I can see why. The fresh air, views, time to think and clear one's head while also feeling as though you are doing something, that you are useful. It's very appealing, especially if you spend most of your time in New York fighting for space on subways. So after reading about this existence I was left wanting more, and this mini-doc from The Atlantic satisfies that craving.
And while it is nice to see video of these dramatic places, it's a subject that really does require the written explanation. Watch the film, but then, please, go deeper with Fire Season, a book I can’t recommend enough.