Award-Winning Author John Norman Maclean to Speak at FVCC

By Beacon Staff

Award-wining author and journalist John Norman Maclean will appear at Flathead Valley Community College later this month.

The FVCC Continuing Education Center is welcoming Maclean for a free community lecture on June 25.

Maclean’s presentation will explore the Esperanza Fire and arson-murder trial of Raymond Oyler. These events, which are considered landmarks in fire history, are the subjects of Maclean’s most recent book, “The Esperanza Fire.”

The Esperanza Fire burned over 40,000 acres in southern California in October 2006 and took the lives of the five men of Engine 57 from the San Bernardino National Forest. It marked the first time an entire Forest Service engine crew was killed by flames. Also, for the first time, an arsonist was convicted of murder sentenced to death for setting a fatal wildland fire.

Maclean’s presentation will offer a behind-the-scenes look at those events through photos and videos and an insider’s commentary.

Maclean was a journalist with The Chicago Tribune for 30 years, most of that time as a correspondent in Washington, D.C., where one of his assignments was to travel the globe with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Maclean resigned from The Chicago Tribune in 1995 to write “Fire on the Mountain,” an account of the 1994 fire on Storm King Mountain in Colorado that took 14 lives. The Storm King Fire in many ways mirrored the Mann Gulch Fire of 1949 that was the subject of his father Norman Maclean’s book, “Young Men and Fire.” Maclean helped publish “Young Men and Fire” after his father’s death, which inspired his interest in wildland fire.

Maclean has specialized in writing about wildland fires for the past two decades publishing four books chronicling famous and destructives fires: “Fire on the Mountain,” “Fire and Ashes,” “The Thirtymile Fire” and “The Esperanza Fire,” which was published this year.

The presentation is open to the public and will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the large community meeting room in the Arts and Technology Building on campus. For more information, contact the FVCC Continuing Education Center at 756-3832, or email ceinfo@fvcc.edu.

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