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Review Of The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt And The Fire That Saved America

677 words - 3 pages

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America is about Teddy Roosevelt’s attempt to save the beautiful scenery of the West. Roosevelt used his presidency as a springboard to campaign his want of protection for our woodlands, while doing this he created the Forest Service from this battle. In this book Timothy Egan explores the Northern Rockies to analyze the worst wildfire in United States history. This disaster is known as the “Big Burn,” the 1910 fire quickly engulfed three million acres of land in Idaho, Montana and Washington, completely burned frontier towns and left a smoke cloud so thick that it hovered over multiple cities even after the flames had been extinguished.
Egan begins this story about the Big Burn of 1910 with the story of how the United States Forest Service came into existence. He says it came from a very odd partnership of two people: Teddy Roosevelt, and his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot. While they were very different they also shared many things in common. Both of them were born and raised by rich families in Manhattan. Much like Roosevelt, Pinchot was to inherit a very large fortune that was earned from logging forests on the Eastern part of America. When the Forest Service was first created in 1905 Pinchot became the new chief; he then began to recruit young people to become rangers for the service. Many of the problems the rangers faced were homesteaders, railroads, timber and mining entrepreneurs battled for the resource hunt and land grab at the beginning of the 1900s. To make Roosevelt’s plan falter even more the next president, William Howard Taft, cared very little about the environment and nature. He quickly fired Pinchot, and cut back the funding for the Forest Service to point of it disappearing completely. At this point in time, in the drought ridden summer of 1910, high winds and storms caused wide spread fire across the Northern Rockies. In the...

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