John N. Maclean, author of several wildland fire books will present, “Beyond the Tragedy: The Legacy of the Esperanza,” 7 p.m. April 9, in the Warner College of Natural Resources Building Room NR113 on the Colorado State University campus. The event is free and open to the public.
The California Esperanza fire of 2006 brought about major changes in the investigations of wildland fires and the prosecutions of arsonists. The fire burned 24,000 acres in only 18 hours and took the lives of five firefighters in the process. Esperanza marks the first time an arsonist was found criminally responsible for the murders that resulted from his actions.
Maclean has dedicated the past four years to researching, writing and speaking about the deadly Esperanza fire and the criminal trial of the arsonist Raymond Lee Oyler. In March of 2009 Oyler was sentenced to death after being found guilty on five counts of murder and multiple counts of arson. Since the trial, 23 other wildfires have been connected to Oyler.
Maclean worked as a writer, editor and reporter for the Chicago Tribune for more than 30 years before authoring his three books on wildland fires: “The Thirtymile Fire,” “Fire and Ashes” and “Fire on the Mountain.”
Maclean’s talk is sponsored by CSU’s Student Firefighter Association. The organization is comprised of active, past and aspiring wildland firefighters, students, professors and researchers. SFA strives to unite individuals interested in or working with wildland fire as well as to expand the CSU fire science program.
For more information on SFA or Maclean’s talk, visit http://warnercnr.colostate.edu/SFA-home/.