Here’s what I remember most about the Granite Mountain guys. They were organized, well-trained and friendly. It was hot as hell and they’d been working for days, but they still put up with me constantly sticking a camera in their face.

When I photographed them they were doing what’s called a burnout operation. It’s a man-made fire that’s set so that it burns toward the wildfire, creating a buffer zone and hopefully preventing the fire from advancing.

Flames shot 20 feet into the air at times, which scared the shit out of me, but was hardly newsworthy for them. In fact, at times you could actually hear some of the crew yipping in excitement as the fire took off and they saw that it was burning in the right direction.

One of the things I was most impressed by was the crew’s patience. They waited hours for the wind to shift so they knew the backburn would work. Once they started to set the fire, they moved slowly and cautiously. As a photographer, it was frustrating because you want as many flames as possible. But they didn’t care about photos, they cared about effective fire management.

[MORE: A Tribute to the Firefighters Lost in Arizona by Jakob Schiller]

(Source: Wired)

  1. wildlandfireman reblogged this from wired
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  3. movinggaylyforward reblogged this from wired and added:
    I met the survivor of this crew, to hear his story was heart wrenching. The lives lost, the families torn, very tragic....
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  10. lackofintellect reblogged this from wired and added:
    Great photos & thoughts by Jakob Schuller.
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  12. asweetdreamandlovelynightmare reblogged this from meljoyaz and added:
    Can’t read about it since this is the hubs profession. It makes me want to cry.
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