Six River Fire A valley burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, part of the Six River Lightning Complex Fire that burned through the area in August of 2022.
Portrait of a firefighter named Will, resting on the back of his crew's fire truck in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
Into the Frying Pan
Work gloves sit on the dashboard of our rental car as my partner, James Mertz and I slowly make our way along a narrow Forest Service road towards the Six River lightning complex fire.
On the March
A procession of Big Bear Hotshots march down a Forest Service road to the entry point from which they will march off the trail and towards the fire line. They each carry as much water as they can manage, as they will not return to their trucks until the end of the days
Water and Bone A large bone, likley that of a cow accordning to the firefighters stationed nearby, sits in the dirt next to a hose line running down the fireline.
Portrait of a firefighter named Ethan, part of the Vista Grande Hotshots. He would turn 20 several days later.
Flames Remain Though the Six River Lightning Complex Fire was mostly contained by the time my partner and I arrived, some hot spots still remained in the forest, occasionally flaring up and bringing down large trees.
The Vista Grande Hotshots perform "mop-up" duty. Though not as glamorous, the arduous task of sifting through mostly burned out sections of the forest, digging out burning roots, and dowsing them, is essential to properly fighting a wild fire.
In the Smoke
Wildlands Firefighter by the name of Ethan, a member of the Vista Grande Hotshots, digs out the burning roots of a tree so that his crewmate can spray it down with a hose.
Perils of the Forest
One of the Big Bear Hotsots shows off the rashes of poison oak afflicting his legs. Despite the severity of the rash, he still geared up with his crew and marched back into the forest the next days
A member of the Big Bear Hotshots sharpens his axe at the end of a long day fighting the Six River lighting complex fire.
Portrait of ET, the supervisor of the Big Bear Hotshots, leaning against his work truck.
Willow Creek A thick blanket of smoke sits over the town of Willow Creek, CA, which served as the base of operations for the fire crews fighting the Six River Lightning Complex Fire in northern California. Residents had been evacuated several weeks earlier but had started to return to their homes once the fire was largely contained.