The Gila National Forest: Background information when reading Fire Season

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Fire Season

Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout

by Philip Connors

Fire Season
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2011, 256 pages
    Feb 2012, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Gila National Forest

As a fire lookout, Philip Connors called New Mexico's Gila National Forest home. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 1924 this nationally protected area was established (at the advocacy of conservationist Aldo Leopold) as "the first designated wilderness in the country."

Gila National Forest This means that "there are no roads; the only travel permitted is by foot or horseback. You will find no logging, resorts or commercial uses of any kind except grazing," which is why Connors hiked in and out to his tower and chopped his wood by hand. Today, it remains the largest, roadless wilderness in the national forest system.

Contained within the Gila National Forest is the Gila National Wilderness, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness, and the Blue Range Wilderness. These areas are distinguished by great eco- and biodiversity: The U.S. Forest Service notes that there are elevations ranging from 4,200 to 10,900 feet, including "rugged mountains, deep canyons, meadows, and semi-desert ...

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