Emerging Voices in Forestry

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A Conversation with John Maclean

Hosted by Doug Decker

John N. Mclean

Author of “Fire on the Mountain” and “River of Fire: The Rattlesnake Fire and the Mission Boys”

Doug Decker

Executive Seminar in Natural Resources Leadership, Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University

The nation’s leading wildfire writer and observer and Oregon’s former State Forester and longtime forest historian share conversation, stories and insights that explore the complex relationship between fire, forests and people. Fire has always been a defining force in the Western landscape. In the 21st century, fire will play an even more important role as development, climate change and shifting policy continue to reshape our relationship with forests and wild lands. Drawing on his lifetime of fire reporting and thinking about fire—through an open conversation with Oregon’s forest historian and long-time fire observer—Maclean shares his insights about wildfire, firefighters and firefighting, and what the future may hold for the complex relationship between people, fire and landscape. Join these two for an evening of lively conversation, storytelling and insight about fire, firefighting, writing, history and memory.

May 2, 2019
7-9 pm
Miller Hall
FREE – Advance Tickets Required

John Norman Maclean, an award-winning author and journalist, has specialized for the past 25 years in writing books and other works about wildland fire. Previously, Maclean was for 30 years a journalist with The Chicago Tribune, most of that time as a correspondent in Washington, DC, where he was one of the “Kissinger 14” who traveled with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during the era of shuttle diplomacy.

Maclean resigned from The Tribune in 1995 to write Fire on the Mountain, an account of the 1994 fire on Storm King Mountain in Colorado that took the lives of 14 firefighters. The Storm King fire mirrored the Mann Gulch Fire of 1949 that was the subject of his father, Norman Maclean’s earlier book, Young Men and Fire, which helped inspire the younger Maclean’s interest in wildland fire. His most recent book, River of Fire: The Rattlesnake Fire and the Mission Boys, was published in June 2018.

His previous four books chronicle other famous and destructive fires. They are Fire on the Mountain, Fire and Ashes, The Thirtymile Fire, and The Esperanza Fire. He currently is at work on a book about the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire that took the lives of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Maclean, an avid fly-fisherman, divides his time between Washington, DC, and a family cabin in Montana.

Doug Decker served as Oregon State Forester and Director of the Oregon Department of Forestry from 2011-2016, a position he retired from in October 2016. During his 30-year career, Doug led development of the Tillamook Forest Center, a popular forest education and recreation facility west of Portland, and also led funding and acquisition of the 70,000-acre Gilchrist State Forest in Central Oregon. Throughout his 29 fire seasons, Doug welcomed—and learned from—challenging fire assignments across Oregon.

He currently runs the Executive Seminar in Natural Resources Leadership in the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University and is chair of the Forest History Society based at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. In his spare time, Doug spends time on a bicycle and writes about old buildings and neighborhood history from his website: alamedahistory.org. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Montana.