Murry Taylor plummets from an airplane, thousands of feet above the ground, only to land on an earth ignited by scorching wildfires. And that's what he calls the fun part of his job. Next time on To the Best of Our Knowledge, true grit, valor and romance in the life of a smoke-jumper. Also, the surprise hurricane that decimated the city of Galveston. And, poet Billy Collins on the psychology of weather junkies.
Murry Taylor was a smokejumper for 27 years. He belonged to the crews who parachute out of airplanes into remote, wilderness locations to battle forest fires. He tells Jim Fleming what the view of a fire is like from the air, how hard it can be to land, and what brutal, physical hard work is required to fight forest fires. Also, Stephen Pyne has made the study of fire his life's work. His latest book (coming in May, 2001) is "The Year of the Fires." Pyne tells Steve Paulson what this year's fires in the West have in common with the catastrophic fires of 1910, and why the Forest Service has to develop new policies of fire management as society evolves.SEGMENT 2:
Billy Collins is a poet and fascinated by weather. He's the author of a book of verse called "Picnic, Lightning." Collins tells Steve Paulson that we love the weather channel because it's a way to peek ahead in time and that the weather is what we all have in common. Also, Christine Colasurdo is the author of "Return to Spirit Lake." Her family had a cabin there until the whole landscape was transformed by the eruption of Mount St. Helens. Colasurdo tells Anne Strainchamps what the volcano did to the place she loved, and how she's come to see the eruption as one event in a history of constant natural change.SEGMENT 3:
Erik Larson is the author of the best-selling "Isaac's Storm." Larson tells Jim Fleming about the catastrophic hurricane that devastated Galveston in 1900, and why the forecasters of the National Weather Service disregarded warnings from Cuban meteorologists.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 00-09-10-B.
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