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Release: Sept. 9, 2002

UI graduate to speak about fighting Western forest fires Sept. 13

A summer of devastating fires in the West has left behind many questions about wildfire management in the National Forests. University of Iowa alumnus Don Scheese will talk about his experiences watching for and fighting fires in Idaho's River of No Return Wilderness at 4 p.m. Sept. 13 in 704 Jefferson Building. His presentation "Mountains of Memory: Nature and Environmental Studies in American Studies," is part of the American studies department Floating Friday lecture series.

Sheese, who earned his doctorate in American studies in 1991, is now an associate professor of English and director of the environmental studies program at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. His lecture is based on his book "Mountains of Memory: A Fire Lookout's Life in the River of No Return Wilderness," published by UI Press last year.

The book paints a complex portrait of the natural, institutional and historical forces that have shaped the great forested landscapes of the American West. A student of nature writing as well as a fire lookout with over a decade of experience, Scheese recounts his life at the top of the world, along with daring adventures such as backpacking and mountaineering in the Bighorn Crags and kayaking down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.