I can’t stop looking at this photo. I am biased, having been a Hot Shot for five years, but to me this is an iconic photo of a Hot Shot crew. It shows a fire crew and flames, but the flames are friendly and controlled. Taken by Kyle Miller, it shows the Wyoming Hot Shots at the end of a shift on the 2016 Snake Fire on the Wyoming/Colorado border.
I can imagine that these tactical athletes are tired, but feeling good about what they accomplished over the last 16 hours — together — and are hoping for another good day tomorrow. They are happy to be resting and decompressing with their buddies.
On their Facebook Page they described the photo:
“Thursday throwback to one of my favorite fire pictures. I recently saw a post asking what being a wildland firefighter means to people. This to me is what it’s about. The camaraderie you have with your crew. The nights spent out at a remote spike camp, sitting around a campfire after a long shift talking like you haven’t been around each other 24/7 the whole summer. Jokingly complaining about how awful the line, food, coffee or hike in or out was, but looking back and being satisfied with the progress the crew has made.
“More and more I feel like firefighters are being told they’re glamorous, adrenaline fueled heroes doing an extremely dangerous job, battling the forces of nature and more and more inexperienced firefighters are believing it and thinking that’s what this job is about. It’s sad and about as far from the truth as you can get. It’s all about teamwork, camaraderie, and a few clear, calm decisions to solve evolving problems.”