Pictured here: Ed Waldron, one of my crew leaders in the summer of 2003, watches a tree torch out in the Inyo National Forest. This was my final assignment that season. It was an awesome, creeping fire in the Golden Trout Wilderness and we spent two frosty-morning weeks camped at nine thousand feet. Each morning, we crawled out of our tents, ate oatmeal standing up in “breakfast boots” (unlaced, calf-high fire boots), watched the sun rise, stood around the fire, then slip the first wad of chew behind post-coffee lips as we received the day’s assignment. On this day, Ed and I were watching the southern flank burn.
To find out why we weren’t putting it out, read my story: “Forests to Burn: Joshua Berman spent a glorious summer exploring some of America’s most beautiful wilderness areas — with a drip torch in his hand”