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Esperanza Fire Book Signing in Redlands to Benefit Public Safety Academy

The author of 'The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine 57' is scheduled to speak about his research for the book at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday March 13 at Barnes & Noble, 27460 Lugonia Ave.

The author of a recently-published book about the October 2006 Esperanza Fire in the San Gorgonio Pass that killed five U.S. Forest Service firefighters is scheduled to appear March 13 at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Redlands.

The book-signing is billed as a fundraiser for the Public Safety Academy charter school in San Bernardino.

John N. Maclean, author of 'The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine 57' is scheduled to speak about his research for the book at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday March 13 at Barnes & Noble, 27460 Lugonia Ave.

Maclean will sign copies of the book until 7 p.m., a Barnes & Noble representative said. The list price on the jacket of the 291-page hardcover edition is $26.

Promotional material for the event overstates that the Esperanza Fire was "the worst US fire in over 20 years," and does not mention the 2003 Old Fire in San Bernardino and its aftermath.

Nevertheless, the Esperanza Fire was one of the most costly ever in terms of human life in Riverside County.

The arson-set blaze became a wind-driven firestorm early Oct. 26, 2006, and it claimed the lives of the crew for USFS Engine 57, Capt. Mark Loutzenhiser, 43, Pablo Cerda, 24, Daniel Hoover-Najera, 20, Jason Robert McKay, 27, and Jess Edward McLean, 27, who were set up to protect a vacant home on Gorgonio View, between Cabazon and Twin Pines.

Raymond Lee Oyler, a mechanic with ties to Cabazon, Banning and Beaumont, was convicted in March 2009 of five counts of murder, and sentenced to death.

Deputy District Attorney Mike Mayman, who filed criminal charges in the Esperanza Fire, said it "burned up 63 square miles of the Pass." The blaze also destroyed 34 homes and 20 outbuildings.

Maclean is an award-winning author and journalist who has written about wildland fire for more than 15 years, according to his publishers. Before turning to fire, Maclean worked 30 years as a journalist with The Chicago Tribune. His first book, 'Fire on the Mountain,' was featured in two documentaries by Dateline NBC and the History Channel. He has also written 'Fire and Ashes' and 'The Thirtymile Fire.'

For the March 13 event in Redlands, Barnes & Noble will donate a percentage of purchases to the Public Safety Academy when customers mention the academy at any register or purchase a copy of The Esperanza Fire. Online purchases can be credited toward the fundraiser by entering Bookfair ID code 11050499 at checkout, according to Barnes & Noble.

Copies of 'The Esperanza Fire:Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine 57' can be reserved by contacting Laurie Aldern, community relations manager at the Redlands Barnes & Noble at (909) 793-4945 or crm2201@bn.com.

Seating for the March 13 event is limited and guests are encouraged to arrive early.

For more information about Maclean and his new book, visit http://johnmacleanbooks.com/esperanza.

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