Wildland fire is a crazy world. I spent three seasons working for the federal government as a firefighter, and my husband is entering his 13th season? Fourteenth? I worked for the Bureau of Land Management in both Rock Springs, Wyoming, and Miles City, Montana (but was stationed south of Ashland, MT, on the Custer National Forest), as well as for the Prineville Hotshot crew on the Ochoco National Forest out of Prineville, Oregon. Spending days upon days upon days with my coworkers, in fun, weird, awesome (in the literal sense of the word) situations is what really brought about my photojournalistic style of taking portraits. When someone is too tired or working too hard to notice the camera is when you get genuine moments of life.
I don’t regret a single moment of this job, which you don’t hear often about work. It’s how I met my husband, it allowed me to travel all over the western US, and gave me the motivation to start running and working out post-college/high school sports career (seriously, I haven’t stopped running since 2005, other than the whole “pregnant with twins” thing). I spent weeks at a time outdoors, no phones, no internet, no showers.
I miss it. I really, really do. It’s not at all compatible with small children, at least for both parents in the field. But even with me at home, my husband doesn’t go out nearly as much as he used to, since the demands of home life are a lot these days. But maybe someday? I like to dream that someday I could take the place of Kari Greer, and work as a contract photographer for the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho. It’s either that or Chief Photographer for the White House, and I haven’t received any calls for the latter quite yet! So if anyone at NIFC is reading this….here’s my contact page!
My husband claims he won’t allow our daughters to go into wildland fire. I’ll admit, it’s a bit terrifying. But it made me who I am today, and I owe it everything for that. The people who work in wildland fire are tough, caring, hardworking and selfless – all qualities I would love for our kids to have. I have a few years to work on him, so check back in 2028!
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