Wildfire — as seen through the eyes of a cowboy poet


Paula sent us a note:

I caught cowboy poet Baxter Black on TV this evening. He was talking about the fires of ’88 and in particular, a range fire in far eastern Montana and then launched into a range fire poem. I did a quick search and found this older version I thought you might enjoy.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Paula.
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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

7 thoughts on “Wildfire — as seen through the eyes of a cowboy poet”

  1. Looking for a cowboy poem abt fire and the Forest Service. A friend who oft recited it has gone to his reward and we’d like to find it in memory of Jack.

  2. A side note that may be of interest. The version of Baxter Black’s poem recently posted on Wildfire Today is not the original. The posted video is a copy from the Learning Center at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City, IA.

    While building the Learning Center back in the mid-eighties we wanted a way to engage kids and adults in understanding the role of fire in prairie management. The first problem is to get people’s attention.

    Having been a fan of Baxter Black, and knowing his poem “Range Fire” we asked if he would do a minor re-write to make it a little more relevant to the Tall Grass Prairie we were reconstructing on the Refuge.

    He was most gracious and interested in the project, (at the time it was named the Walnut Creek National Wildlife Refuge) and did some terminology changes. He then allowed our exhibit design firm to film him at the campfire as he recited the new version. He did this at a very minor cost for which we were grateful.

    Both “Range Fire” and “Prairie Fire” are fine poems from the distinguished cowboy poet.

    Here is a link to the original poem.

      1. I’ve been out of wildland for 6 or 7 years but still try to keep informed through Wildfire Today … thanks and keep up the good work


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