Book looks at history, development of fire

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Former Clear Creek firefighter takes on a very hot topic

By Ian Neligh

With a passion for fire safety and storytelling, former Idaho Springs resident Einar Jensen recently published “Ancient Fire, Modern Fire: Understanding and Living With Our Friend and Foe.”

“Fire is so incredibly important to our species, whether it is illumination or cooking or keeping warm or combining metals,” Jensen said. “… But we do take it for granted, and that’s why people get injured or die. And, honestly, it drives me crazy.”

Jensen, a former editor of the Clear Creek Courant and volunteer firefighter, now works for South Metro Fire Rescue as a risk-reduction specialist, where he teaches students about fire and injury prevention.

“I’ve been surprised by how little people know about the phenomenon of fire,” Jensen said, adding that he originally started building a lesson plan for kids when he had the idea for his book.

“In that research, I started thinking about (fire) creation myths, stories of the origin of fire, and how I could possibly integrate (those) ancient stories into a lesson plan so that kids would find meaning in it and maybe even persuade them to make better choices surrounding fire,” Jensen said. “So that was my inspiration, and as I did the research, I realized there were a gazillion different stories from across the globe … about the origin of fire, (and) most of those stories share certain characteristics.”

He then started to examine the aspects of humans’ relationship with fire.

“I know more about fire than the average person, just because of my firefighting background, but that’s unfair. I’d like to share some more of that information with the general public so that they can be safer — and so ultimately I can be safer.”

He said fire creation myths have a common thread: a person who is wise, older or who has proven worthy to use fire.

“As opposed to someone who just stumbles upon a match or can push a button on a grill and suddenly fire appears,” Jensen said. “So I wanted to get back to this idea that, before we start using fire, we should know some rules. There should be an instruction manual, because fire kills. ... Dying in a fire is 100 percent avoidable.”


“Ancient Fire, Modern Fire: Understanding and Living With Our Friend and Foe” can be purchased from PixyJack Press or Amazon.com for $19.95.