Bowen, Carl. Firestormers: Elite Firefighting Crew
1 July 2016, Capstone Young Readers
E ARC from Netgalley.com
When the Kalmath National Forest has 11,000 acres on fire, the National Elite Interagency Wildfire Rapid Response Strike Force is brought in. This is led by Capt. McElreath, but there are other agencies involved in the response. One of the leaders is Lt. Garrett, who was a great structural firefighter but whose father urged him to move to a firestorming unit to help with his political ambitions. There's also Pete Kinsey, who heads the local concern, and Rodgers, whose brother is fighting the fire with another unit that has gotten caught by the flames. Add to this mix Rendon, who would prefer to use her chainsaw than be a spokesperson, and there's plenty of interpersonal drama while fighting a raging forest fire. It doesn't help when a group of survivalists, headed by Pete Stoyko, won't leave, or when environmentalist Topher Smith demands that an endangered marten be saved even though the fire is not endangering the animals' habitat as much as it is endangering other areas. There are plenty of details about how forest fires are fought, and the description of how technology is used is especially interesting.
Strengths: This author has some paramilitary books that are hugely popular among my reluctant readers, and I think that extreme firefighting is also a topic that will appeal to this group. There are very few books about wildfires, other than Cooney's FlashFire (1994) and Garretson's Wildfire Run (2010).
Weaknesses: This seemed a bit on the long side for reluctant readers, but perhaps this is something they can work toward.
What I really think: I could have done without so much of the personal drama, but this is definitely a book I will purchase.