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Smoke jumper Reyne Oldre has demons to battle. She’s still haunted by the Oxbow fire that turned deadly for her crew. HER crew. She was in charge, and she feels she failed them. As the crew boss of the Lolo Hotshots, it was her responsibility to keep her crew safe. But dragons have minds of their own, and sometimes they change them- with deadly consequences.

Since that fire two years ago, Rayne has been haunted by it. Two teams and four dead kids sent Rayne from groundpounding to fire science. She was hoping to make a difference- a real difference; but she needed the grant money.

If crew bosses could have hand-held computers, they could read real-time humidity, wind speed, temperature, and even fuel moisture levels. It would let crew bosses have the critical information in the field, instead of waiting for the information to be relayed to them. Rayne knew that those precious minutes and seconds would save lives.

Logan McCabe has other ideas for the coveted grant. He’s seen too many smoke jumpers get stranded in trees and battered as they tried to detangle their chutes. Not only did they get injured from getting caught, but that usually meant a medevac out and a lost team member fighting on the ground.

He’d seen too many good jumpers get tangled in trees, injured, and then sent to the sidelines to recover from their injuries, taking out needed presence and experience on the ground. There had to be a better way to extract them from these situations without injury. He was certain his portable zip line would do the trick.

As it turns out, it’s going to take both of them working together on the project that gets the grant.

Can they work together without killing each other? And, as their relationship develops, can Rayne slay the dragon in her dreams once and for all, that will allow her to take the chance on falling in love with another smoke jumper?

This is the final book (book 6) in the Full Circle Series. I haven’t read any of the other books, but you don’t need to in order to thoroughly enjoy this one. Some characters from the first book (Refuge) make a return appearance, and I would enjoy reading the earlier book although again, it’s not necessary. One thing I really did like, too, was the addition of the novella at the end of this book, Sandcastles, which wraps up the secondary story all up very nicely with a bow.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars, and Lisa Tawn Bergren goes on my absolute favorite author list. You can check out her website here: http://lisatawnbergren.com/books/. I know I’ll be going and digging around to find her other titles.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

On a related note: perhaps this one hit me closer to home, given our brutal fire season this year. If you’ve been reading along, you might remember that we’ve been on fire nearby this year, and there has been A LOT of devastation. The Little Bear fire was crippling for so many. You can see pictures of Bonita Park here.

When we moved to Colorado from Michigan, wild fires and smoke jumpers were not something I was really familiar with. We had only been there a short time when the South Canyon Fire took place. In the end, 13 lost their lives, including 3 smoke jumpers.

In addition to the cowboys we see in Wal-Mart (often with spurs), come spring and summer, it is not unusual to see a large number of fire crews from all over the country converging on town. If you don’t know anything about these folks, the acknowledgements in the beginning of Firestorm give some excellent resources. It’s definitely worth your time to check these out, too.

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Wait for it……. farm dust.

Yes, you read that right.  I stumbled across an article in the San Angelo Times today regarding the new White House Rural Council’s mission to work with the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) on regulating farm dust.

Um, ya.  Have y’all been to Texas?  What about the other southern states to the west?  I mean, those parts of the south western states to the south ↓, as in, bordering Mexico.  Do y’all realize there is a seriously severe drought going on and that there are tons of fires? To understand the fire situation, a good place to start is the Southwest Coordination Center (SWCC) website.

Do y’all realize that these parts of the country are desert?  As in, consisting of sand, little foliage, and a lot of wind?  Even in non-drought years, we have wind and blowing dirt.  Where I live, we say we have two seasons: windy, and hot and windy.

Do dust devils count as “farm dust?” I see them on farms all the time, so I assume they would qualify. You sure can feel it when you drive through them. I have no idea how they would be regulated, though.

We are not talking about the Dust Bowl (good info here and here) during the Depression. Believe it or not, we’ve learned a lot about farming since then, and I can assure you, *no one* is interested in a repeat.

Nope, we’re talking about regular ole’ dirt.  I’m gonna go out on a limb. It’s probably not a popular opinion.

I think trying to regulate blowing dirt is ridiculous. In my mind, it’s akin to trying to regulate the salinity content of the ocean.

Apparently, though, I am not alone.  Author Jerry Lackey says, “During the current drought, daily wind gusts stir the powder-dry earth across the West Texas skies. Trying to regulate dust in the Lone Star State these days would bankrupt the whole agriculture industry and the EPA.”

Ya think? ‘Cause Texas isn’t the only large western state with dirt.  While Texas has the second largest land mass of the US states, New Mexico is fifth largest followed by Arizona at number six.  Throw in some mountains (yes, even in Texas) combined with the desert, high heat and drought, and this can be a recipe for disasters of all kinds.

Apparently, now we can add blowing dirt to that list, according to the EPA.

While I am all for preserving the environment and being good stewards of our planet, there is a point at which foolery is trying to take over. This doesn’t affect just the south and southwest, either.  People all over the USA are up in arms about this, and for good reason, in my opinion.

**Disclaimer: I have not gone through these links, so don’t shoot the messenger.  😀

Here are some links to get you started:

Nebraska: Senators fight against potential EPA dust regulations

Oklahoma: EPA to Crack Down on Farm Dust

Bipartisan group of western lawmakers push back….

South Dakota: First Noem bill seeks farm-ranch protection from EPA regulation

Kentucky: Local farmers concerned with proposed EPA dust regulations

Virginia Congressman Robert Hurt: The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act

 

What do you think?  Sound off and leave me a comment!!

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