Clare Frank fought fires for nearly 30 years and served as the State of California’s first and only female Chief of Fire Protection. Her new book Burnt: A Memoir of Fighting Fire is an inspiring, richly detailed, and open-hearted account of an extraordinary life in fire. It chronicles the transformation of a young adult determined to prove her mettle into a scarred and sensitive veteran, grappling with the weight of her duties as chief of fire protection — one of the highest-ranking women in Cal Fire history — while record-setting fires engulf her home state. Mentors and managing, funerals and scandal, pickup basketball, car crashes, and always fire — no one has written about this world, from this perspective, like Clare Frank. She masterfully mixes irreverence and awe, taking readers inside station houses, on daily calls, and along on wildfire campaigns where antics and dark humor balance terrifying risk, trauma, and a sense of almost holy responsibility.
Over the course of her career, Frank earned a spot on an elite state command team, a bachelor's in fire administration, a law degree and bar card, a master's in creative writing, and several leadership awards. Now, she brings her story to the Mill Valley Public Library. Join us for a conversation with Clare Frank about her new book, firefighting, and everything in between.
Clare Frank started firefighting in California at 17 and was promoted up the ranks, becoming the state’s first and only female chief of fire protection. Along the way, she earned a BS in fire administration, an MFA in creative writing, and a JD. She has lectured at colleges, universities, and state and national fire conferences, and lives near Lake Tahoe with her husband and two dogs. This is her first book.
Clare Frank photo courtesy of the publisher