Caroline Paul was among the first dozen women to join the San Francisco Fire Department, nearly a decade ago. A Stanford graduate, she was a film student when a chance encounter and her own curiosity led her to see whether she could pass the rigorous qualifying tests for the fire department. Somewhat to her own surprise, she soon found herself a "probie" working hard to learn her job in one of the most traditionally male-identified professions there is. But navigating the deeply male working-class culture of the firehouse as a woman (and a vegetarian to boot!) shrank in significance when confronted with the task of battling the most destructive force on earth: fire. Everyone has experienced standing transfixed before a blazing building. There is something elemental and fascinating about a fire that makes it hard to turn your eyes away. Caroline Paul has never lost that sense of awe and astonishment at fire raging out of control, and with a remarkable ability to write, she is able to make that feeling palpable on the page. She tells of the physical dangers and psychological pressures of the job, the camaraderie and deep loyalty of the department, the satisfaction of a difficult job well done, and the inevitable tragedies that come with being a firefighter. And threaded through all the tales of risk rescue is the story of one young woman who comes to true adulthood with the realization that she is where she wants to be, doing the work she was meant to do: fighting fire.