John Vaillant’s new book Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast is more than just a series of dramatic interviews with Fort McMurray residents about their terrifying escape from the wildfire that destroyed 2,400 homes in 2016. …Fire Weather is more than a series of pained, frank interviews with the people who fought the kind of fire they had never seen or imagined before. If the book were only that, it would be a gripping wake-up call for the public, to help us understand and prepare for a new kind of wildfire. The book weaves together the political and scientific history of the bitumen industry in Alberta, an examination of the physics of a new kind of wildfire, and an impassioned take-down of the fossil fuel companies’ conscious, ongoing refusal to control emissions. But the heart of the narrative is Vaillant’s vivid attention to the stories of the residents and firefighters.