David Strohmaier's long career as a firefighter has given him intimate knowledge of wildfire and its complex role in the natural world of the American West. It has also given him rare understanding of the painful losses that are a consequence of fire. Strohmaier addresses our ambivalence about fire and the realities of loss to it. He also examines the process of renewal that is yet another consequence of such destruction, from the infusion of essential nutrients into the soil, to the sprouting of seeds that depend on intense heat for germination, to the renewal of species as the land restores itself. Drift Smoke is a powerful and moving meditation on wildfire by someone who has seen it in all its terror and beauty, who has lost colleagues and beloved terrain to its ferocity, and who has also seen new life sprouting in the ashes. The debate over the role and control of fire in the West will not end soon, but Strohmaier's contribution to the debate will help us to better appreciate both the complexity of the issues and the possibilities of fresh solutions.