Burn Scars, by Patricia Prijatel


As I read this beautifully written memoir, it was like having my own sense of loss affirmed by someone who truly understands. When a landscape we love and are intimate with (whether it’s splendid mountains and valleys or our own backyard), is destroyed by the freakishness of our changing climate, it hurts. It changes us. We stop trusting nature. We feel stress. Maybe we get sick. We need to recover. Patricia Prijatel’s beautifully written account of the burn scars on “her” mountain and on herself is a must read if you care about climate change. It’s well researched and informative, fast paced and vivid. And perhaps surprisingly, in places it’s laugh-out-loud funny.
Sharelle Moranville

This is a beautiful book. The author has infused the opening chapters with descriptions of this land and its people she so loves. But there is a clear sense of suspenseful foreboding for a catastrophe that you know is coming. Her descriptions of the fire and the response of the human beings who are affected by it gain weight the farther we get from the event itself. Far from going back to normal, she chronicles the work of the people to prevent land erosion, how difficult and sometimes impossible it is, and the emotional toll it takes. What grows in the wake of the fire is not a regeneration of what was there before but in some cases harmful plant life that will change the landscape forever. We watch human emotions as they deny, accept, grieve and try to move on. What we learn in the process of reading this book is how precious our earth is and, in taking it for granted, how much we have endangered it.
Jeanie Smith

“Burn Scars” tells the true personal story of a Colorado family’s love for the land and the mountains. They enjoyed a wonderful life near the East Spanish Peak. Then fire erupted. They fled for their lives. Courageous firefighters saved most of the homes but the trauma lasts to this day. Prijatel talks about the personal grief. She tells the impact of fire, wind and flood on the plants and animals. She describes the increasing danger. Each year spawns higher temperatures and dryer forests. Each year sees more and bigger fires. Her well researched story flows easily. Read this book.
Ray Gaebler

The author did an extraordinary job of giving us a personal account of climate grief and educating us. Very readable, relatable and touching.
Karen Peters

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