author presents book at lecture
This Thursday, as part of the 14th Annual Historical Museum at St. Gertrude Fall Lecture Series, author and firefighter John Sangster of Grangeville will present stories from his newly released book, Salmon River Fire: 30 Years An Idaho Firefighter.
In his book, Sangster shares stories of working as a wildland firefighter and volunteer firefighter. His interest in firefighting began in Santa Barbara, near the Santa Ynez mountains where several major fires occurred throughout his childhood. In this arid and sunny wilderness, he began his firefighting career in 1970, working on a fire crew for the Forest Service. He also worked on fire crews during his college years in Montana. He attended University of Montana (Missoula), School of Forestry, and received a Bachelor of Science in Forestry, Fire Management, in 1974. He ran a fire crew for two years in Oregon and eventually worked out of the Slate Creek Forest Service station along the Salmon River. Now he is a volunteer firefighter in Grangeville.
“I had always kept logs of the fires,” he says. “Then about four years ago I started writing historical memoirs. I realized I had all these stories from firefighting and I had a wild idea. I contacted John MacLean who wrote Fire on the Mountain. He put me in touch with his editor and soon I was publishing a book!”
He is also surprised at the response to the book from the local community, many of whom know John Sangster through his business, Personal Computer Repair. “Firefighting is my passion,” he says. “I would definitely encourage young people to enter this profession. It is extremely community-oriented in a way other professions are not.”
At the Thursday evening lecture, Sangster will recount the sometimes funny, sometimes tragic stories from firefighting, present a slideshow of photographs from the fires, and show equipment he uses to fight both forest and structure fires. Salmon River Fire: 30 Years An Idaho Firefighter will be for sale at the event and a book signing will follow.
The lectures, held on Thursdays during the month of October, provide insights into the history of our region and presentations on topics of interest to the local public. Lectures begin at 7:00 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m. A Q&A session with the presenters follows the lectures. Light refreshments are provided.
The events are held in the Johanna Room at Spirit Center at the Monastery of St. Gertrude located at 465 Keuterville Road, Cottonwood, Idaho. Suggested donations for the lectures are $5.00 for singles and $7.50 for couples. For further information on the Lecture Series, contact the Museum at 208-962-2050.