OCTOBER 13-16, 2022

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The Big Burn - Timothy Egan - <span class="date-display-single">10/22/2015 - 7:00pm</span>

The Big Burn

10/22/2015 - 7:00pm

Monona Terrace - Ballrooms A & B

On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forests of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, whipping the hundreds of small blazes burning across the forest floor into a roaring inferno. Forest rangers had assembled nearly ten thousand men - college boys, day workers, immigrants from mining camps - to fight the fire. But no living person had seen anything like those flames, and neither the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them.
Egan narrates the struggles of the overmatched rangers against the implacable fire with unstoppable dramatic force. Equally dramatic is the larger story he tells of outsized president Teddy Roosevelt and his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot. Pioneering the notion of conservation, Roosevelt and Pinchot did nothing less than create the idea of public land as our national treasure, owned by and preserved for every citizen.
This event is held in partnership with the Midwest Environmental Education ConferenceWisconsin Science Festival, and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Timothy Egan

About Presenter Timothy Egan


Timothy Egan is an acclaimed writer and veteran chronicler of the West whose interests range wide across the American landscape and American history. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, a popular columnist, and a National Book Award-winning author. His weekly online column for The New York Times, the popular “Opinionator,” is consistently among the most read pieces on the NYT site. Egan is the author of several books, including The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2009 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, and The Worst Hard Time.
The Big Burn is also the inspiration for a new documentary also titled The Big Burn to be aired on The American Experience (PBS) in early 2015. Egan is working on a new book about Thomas Francis Meagher, a 19th-century Irish rebel who was banished by the British and sent to Tasmania and eventually escaped to America and fought for the Union in the American Civil War as general of the Irish Brigade. A third-generation Westerner and father of two, Mr. Egan lives in Seattle.


The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America

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