Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

The Great Spokane Falls Fire of 1889: Background information when reading Fire Season

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Fire Season

A Novel

by Leyna Krow

Fire Season by Leyna Krow X
Fire Season by Leyna Krow
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2022, 336 pages

    Jul 2023, 336 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer Hon Khalaf
Buy This Book

About this Book

The Great Spokane Falls Fire of 1889

This article relates to Fire Season

Print Review

Black and white photo of burned buildings and debris after Spokane Falls FireFire Season is set in the late 1880s and features a historical backdrop of immense changes — both metaphorical and literal — in Spokane Falls, Washington. It was a time when Washington was seeking statehood and the legitimacy that came along with this designation, and the Great Spokane Falls Fire could have put the territory's future in jeopardy. This dramatic scenery in which a community seeks both validity and rebirth sets the stage for the novel, as the main characters also undergo searches for a similar sense of security in their identities and become born again in different ways.

Washington had been a territory for 36 years before it became the 42nd state on November 11, 1889. It remained a territory for far longer than others that had achieved statehood, despite its economic strength and foundations. It was a hotly debated issue whether Washington should become a state — revealing concerns surrounding legitimacy, oversight, power and money. Throughout Fire Season, these themes are also reflected in the characters' individual changes and growth. While Washington had been steadily booming and growing, statehood was a precipice on which everything would change.

The tension surrounding statehood was heightened by Spokane Falls' Great Fire of 1889. Spokane Falls was in a period of great prosperity and one of Washington's largest and most successful cities at that time, which made it all the more cataclysmic. The origins of the fire, which broke out on August 4th, are still unknown, and this is one of the mysteries that Fire Season explores — only Roslyn knows its origin due to her supernatural powers. Many fires had been sweeping through the Pacific Northwest at that period in time, and initially this one struck residents as a "trifling affair." But it grew quickly, consuming much of the town's business district, destroying numerous buildings and bridges, only to burn itself out late in the night.

The Great Spokane Falls Fire of 1889 was initially seen as a catastrophe. Yet, as observed by the character Quake in Fire Season, fire is a necessary component for growth, as it clears out old underbrush and debris to make room for sunlight while also nourishing the soil. In this way, the fire resulted in growth for Spokane Falls, making way for modernization, with new, updated buildings erected to replace the rundown structures the fire had consumed.

Destruction after the Great Spokane Falls Fire of 1889, courtesy of Spokane Public Library

Filed under People, Eras & Events

This "beyond the book article" relates to Fire Season. It originally ran in September 2022 and has been updated for the July 2023 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    by K-Ming Chang
    In the first few pages of K-Ming Chang's bizarre yet engrossing novella Cecilia, Seven, the ...
  • Book Jacket: Women and Children First
    Women and Children First
    by Alina Grabowski
    After Lucy Anderson falls to her death at a high school party, no one in Nashquitten, her gloomy, ...
  • Book Jacket: Henry Henry
    Henry Henry
    by Allen Bratton
    Allen Bratton's Henry Henry chronicles a year in the life of Hal Lancaster. Readers already ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Murder at the End of the World
    The Last Murder at the End of the World
    by Stuart Turton
    The island is the only safe place left on Earth. Since a deadly fog overtook the planet, the ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
The Pecan Children
by Quinn Connor
Two sisters deeply tied to their small Southern town fight to break free of the darkness swallowing the land whole.
Book Jacket
Look on the Bright Side
by Kristan Higgins
From the author of Pack Up the Moon comes a funny, romantic, and moving novel about life's unexpected rewards.
Win This Book
Win The Bluestockings

The Bluestockings by Susannah Gibson

An illuminating group portrait of the eighteenth-century women who dared to imagine an active life for themselves in both mind and spirit.



Solve this clue:

A W in S C

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.