Burning times

Channeling the great American naturalist Aldo Leopold, Philip Connors shares what it’s like to be a lookout in the Gila National Forest on a mountaintop in New Mexico. Alone with nature—which is often less romantic than it sounds—he watches for the wisps of smoke that herald the start of a fire. For a thousand days over 10 years, five months each year, Connors has held what, for him, is a dream job. In the tower, he’s seen his share of wildfires, wild weather and wild animals, as well as the occasional human who craves solitude as he does. But being away so long each year takes its toll on his marriage, and he has decided that his 10th year will likely be his last. In Fire Season: Field Notes From a Wilderness Lookout, he documents a life that will soon disappear entirely as satellites with amazing resolution take over the fire watch.