By Griffen Smith
of the Pathfinder 

'Into the Flames' book reflects on firefighter's escape from death


November 2, 2023

Griffen Smith, Pathfinder

Sandi Hilderman flips through her late brother's manuscript about his experience wildland firefighting. Robert Ritchey worked on fires across the West.

When Sandi Hilderman looked through her late brother's possessions, she found a package with hundreds of handwritten pages in a manila envelope. They were his stories from his career as a wildland firefighter.

"This is a story he never told our parents, although we knew he got injured," Hilderman said during a book tour in Condon on Oct. 25. "But it is a story about a fire and how he was trapped in one of them."

Her brother, Robert Ritchey, served as a wildland firefighter for decades at the end of the 20th century. In his book, compiled by Hilderman, Ritchey shares his time at the massive...

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