“The Heart of a Firefighter”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has produced a very slick video about wildland firefighting, named “The Heart of a Firefighter”.

The purpose of the video is “show what we do as USFS firefighters and also the drive and passion of the people that fight fire”, according to Jason Steinmetz of the USFS Washington Office. This is a two-minute “teaser” of the final product which is expected to be five to eight minutes long.

It is well done and worth viewing.

Over on Fire Aviation we are discussing the model of air tanker shown in the video at 1:06.

Can anyone identify the firefighters in the video? If so, give us their name and the minute/second in the film.


September 27, 2013: A few people have recognized the female firefighter standing in front of the red engine with the Pulaski at 1:41, as being Kelsey Chaloupka of the North Haines VFD in South Dakota.

September 28, 2013: Brad told us: “The engine at 00:23 is Rock Hill Fire E-5 (type 4) out of Buffalo, WY. The nozzle man is Tom Provost. I believe that was the Beaver Creek Fire in Idaho.”

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

4 thoughts on ““The Heart of a Firefighter””

  1. What’s this Pulaski ” baton twirl” at 1:26? Ever the stickler on safety, I’m offended by the mishandling of the Pulaski. Two hands always except when carrying at your side, head forward!

    1. Interesting observation. Usually the fire agencies scrub their published materials of all unsafe practices. There’s a good chance that 1-second scene will not make the final cut in the five to eight minute version.

  2. If this video is indeed used for recruiting purposes, I certainly hope prospective new firefighters don’t enter the job thinking that they’re there for “protecting lives” as the text in the video suggests. The false sense of heroism gained from putting themselves in harm’s way to save the general public from advancing flames has contributed to more firefighter deaths than almost any other cause.
    Wildland firefighters help protect livelihoods, but to suggest our role is to pluck citizens from otherwise certain death distorts the entire premise of what we do.

    1. I would respectfully suggest that protecting lives IS part of what most wildland firefighters do. Many primarily wildland agencies have accepted that in the 21st century, they are there for more than just extinguishing burning vegetation, and wildland firefighters are frequently involved in directly supporting all-hazards incidents – most recently, the Colorado floods supported by crews, engines, and IMT’s. And, even for agencies that truly do nothing but responding to reports of burning vegetation, extinguishing those fires while they are small may well protect many lives in the long run – both firefighters and public. Regardless of your patch or the color of your engine, chances are, you do protect lives when you do your job.


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