Book details

Publication date: June 2015
Features: 22 B&W figures and maps, foreword, notes, bibliography, index
Keywords: Forestry;Environment;Wildfire
Subject(s): NATURE / Ecology, Environment, Environment / Environmental History, Environment, Environment / Environmental Politics & Policy, Environment, Environment / Natural Resources, Forestry / Environment / Wildfire, NATURE / Natural Disasters, Natural disasters, Forestry;Environment;Wildfire, Natural History, Natural Resources, Science
Publisher(s): The University of Alberta Press

Cordy Tymstra. Cordy Tymstra is a Wildlife Science Co-ordinator with Environment and Sustainable Resource Development at the Government of Alberta. He lives in Edmonton.

Mike Flannigan. Director of the Western Partnership for Wildland Fire Science, Professor of Wildland Fire Dept. Renewable Resources, University of Alberta

"This is surely the definitive account of the Chinchaga complex. It will be welcomed by the North American fire community and by anyone interested in the settlement of the Boreal Plains Ecozone of western Canada." [Full review at]

Stephen J. Pyne, BC Studies

"[Tymstra] ties in the impacts on wildfire ecology, wildfire management policy, wildfire behaviour, smoke and most interestingly of all, the human side of the whole event. People’s stories intertwine with historical facts and demonstrate their resilience and persistence in the struggle against wildfire."

Janelle Lane, Environment and Parks Insight

"...the author not only describes the fire and its impact, but adds technical details and history to survey forest fires at other times and how people handled them. Though the 1950 fire changed how fires are fought in Alberta and elsewhere, they also affected scientific research, forest management, and ecological studies, making this survey of western Canadian history a far-ranging examination holding much more of interest beyond its Canadian boundaries."

The Bookwatch

"The Chinchaga Firestorm" [describes] this multi-faceted powerful event with the technical focus and depth of a scientific investigation woven into an engaging narrative drawn from historical archives and personal accounts. Simultaneously a compelling read and rich source of knowledge, Tymstra’s book is equally stimulating for a general audience and for seasoned environmental scientists, managers, and policy makers.... The Chinchaga Firestorm concludes with a compelling and timely argument for a fire management paradigm shift designed to meet the challenges of this century."

Christopher J. Dunn, Ecology

"This book by Tymstra combines an analysis of the largest complex of wild land fires recorded in North America with a compelling narrative of the human response.... The analysis presents data in tables, charts, graphs, and maps, illustrating the causes and effects of the firestorm. The narrative presents the human dimension of firefighting, the frustration of inappropriate policy and a distant bureaucracy, and the innovative (often in defiance of policy) tactics in responding to wild land fire. This work is an amazing scientific contribution to fire science, ecology, public policy, human geography, and Canadian history. It is a great story for general readers as well. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels." [Full review at]

E.J. Delaney, Choice Magazine

"This is an excellent, well written, and detailed study of the 1950 fire and of the events that followed."

Alberta History

"Tymstra’s book lies roughly halfway between the ripping good firefighting yarn, as exemplified by Norman McLean’s Young Men and Fire (1993), and the intellectually compelling analyses of fire in human affairs of the sort produced by Pyne or by Johan Goudsblom (Fire and Civilization, 1992). Not a bad place for a book to be." J.R. McNeill, May 2017

J. R. McNeill, The Pacific Historical Review

introduction / Land of Fire

ONE the lost bc fire
TWO black sunday
THREE dark days in the past
FOUR blue moon, blue sun
FIVE the big smoke
SIX the big wind
SEVEN policy changes
EIGHT ring of steel

conclusion / The Big Think

ISBNs: 9781772120035 978-1-77212-003-5 Title: the chinchaga firestorm ISBNs: 9781772120158 978-1-77212-015-8 Title: the chinchaga firestorm