A fire rages through Rocky Mountain National Park, leaving death in its wake.  Then, when what appears to be a tragic accident is revealed to be murder, it becomes clear to the survivors that only the lessons of a bird can save them. 

National Park Service ranger Eric Linenger has been asked to oversee a "prescribed burn" of 1,000 acres of Rocky Mountain National Park. Although he knows the controlled fire is a necessity, it threatens the habitat of Green-Tailed Towhees and Virginia Warblers. His friends at EPOCH are strongly opposed, but it's Eric's job. Once lit, the flames quickly spread beyond the intended acreage—destroying a real estate development before finally being extinguished. The body of Eric's boss, Wayne Devlin, is found near the origin of the blaze—and it appears as if he deliberately intended the fire to rage out of control. As Eric investigates, he discovers that many people had reasons for ensuring the burn went all to blazes—including some of his friends...
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Eric Linenger works for the National Park Service in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  His boss and close friend, Wayne Devlin, goes missing when they are starting a prescribed burn.  The plan is to burn off 1000 acres of dense vegetation to remove fuel to reduce the risk of a catastrophic wildfire.  Eric does not wan the burn to take place because this is the prime habitat for the green-tailed towhees and the Virginia's warblers.  Nora Frank, who is Devlin's 2nd in command, begins the burn against his recommendations.

Linda Verbiscar, news reporter for KEPC-TV, is on hand with her cameraman Charlie to document this prescribed burn.  This is one of the reasons Nora continues with the burn.

The burn quickly gets out of hand.  They have to evacuate the visitor's center, Shangri-La housing development, east end of Beaver Meadows Wildland Center, and Youth Mountain.  When Eric arrives at Youth Mountain to oversee the evacuation, Vic Garcia, Elk Park County Sheriff, discovers that 2 boys are missing.  Unfortunately with the fire out of control, they don't have the time or manpower to search for the boys now.  They evacuate everyone else and go to help contain the fire.

Lark Drummond who owns Drummond Hotel and is a partner in the Warbler Café is also a volunteer firefighter.  She is also dating Eric.  Once she discovers that the burn is out of control, she joins to help. 

Devlin is charged with deliberately setting this fire.  Eric, with Lark's help, sets out to clear Devlin's name.  In the process he discovers many people had reasons for ensuring the burn got out of hand.

I like the characters in this book.  I hope they will continue in the series, but I have been told this is not the case. 

My only complaint about this book is that it is billed as a Birdwatcher's Mystery series.  There was very little bird watching.  It was more a National Park Service series.  I hope that in future books, bird watching will play a bigger role.

I think the plot and setting are well written.  The characters are very believable.  I found the topic interesting as well.  It was very informative yet an enjoyable read. 

I recommend this cozy. I look forward to reading others. 

Dawn Dowdle