Author Writes About Fighting Wildfires In Idaho

Dec 16, 2015

A writer from Idaho has won a North American Book Award. Author Jerry Mathes won the best memoir award for his book “Ahead of the Flaming Front: A Life on Fire.”

Mathes started fighting wildfires in 1997 in north Idaho. His book takes readers from his terrifying start as a wildland firefighter to becoming part of a team of seasoned crew members. He writes about the bureaucracy of the fire service, living on the fire line and the life - and death - of friends on the fire.

The book is a look at Mathes' start in fighting wildfires in 1997. It follows him through his early career and his time as a seasoned veteran.

Mathes says he wanted to write the book, in part, for his buddies on the fire line.

“We throw around the word ‘hero’ a lot, but these are just hardworking folks who just wanted to do a good job, do something good for the community, for the land, pay their way for college or support their families.”

Credit Jerry Mathes

Mathes left Idaho in 2012 for a full-time job in California. When he’s not writing about fire, he writes about being a single dad. His novella, “Still Life,” won the Meadow Prize earlier this year.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

Copyright 2015 Boise State Public Radio