Battling the Blazes: What It’s Like to Be in the Frontlines of Wildfire Response

Battling the Blazes: What It’s Like to Be in the Frontlines of Wildfire Response

It’s all over the news in recent months: Australia’s bushlands are on fire; California’s being razed by wildfires on all sides; the Amazon rainforest is burning. It’s quite terrifying to think that fires of that magnitude can exist, and we’re barely able to contain it. Fortunately, there were a few brave men and women fighting this one-sided battle, just so we could save ourselves and flee from the path of destruction.

It’s a war against an enemy we can barely contain, so the hopes of beating it to submission are slim to none. As scary as it might sound, there are actual people in the frontlines, fighting the fire, trying to contain it, or at least direct it somewhere away from people and property. Let’s try to find out what it’s like to be front-and-center when it comes to wildfire response.

It’s a Job Where the Risk of Death is Very Real

Firefighters are always putting their lives on the line, no matter how big or small the situation they’re handling. Aside from getting burnt, they could die from the lack of oxygen, smoke inhalation, or fatigue from working under such intense conditions. When faced with wildfires, though, the risk is multiplied many times over. The heat is very intense, it could be felt hundreds of meters away.

The blaze can cover a large area in just a matter of seconds, especially if there’s a wind blowing in its direction. It’s like an unstoppable freight train of heat and carnage; you can’t really take it head-on so you’ll try to steer it in a different direction. Without proper conditioning, a firefighter won’t last prolonged exposure to such extreme conditions. Fatigue would set in, the body would be too tired to really contribute, and you’re at greater risk when you’re not in the proper condition.

Despite the Risks, Many are Still Drawn to this Profession

firefighters on duty

Many young men and women are drawn to fire fighting because they perceive it as an exciting job outdoors. It pays well, enough to help them fund post-grad studies, hobbies, or even start a family. When fire season comes (usually during warming and drying climate,) they’re hit with the harsh reality of the job: they’ll be facing countless wildfires in large swathes of land. Their dedication to the job is quite admirable. Even the most able-bodied athlete won’t have the confidence to tackle a small house fire. What more if they’re thrown in a situation where they’re surrounded on all corners and every action needs to be calculated to avoid injury or death. Still, firefighting is a job that pays well, so there will always be applicants who are willing to take the risk in order to earn.

Equipment Breaks Down Just as Fast as Their Human Counterparts

When you’re exposed to extreme heat for long periods, you’d suffer from burns even when you’re far away. This is the same for the equipment used by firefighters. Rubbers could melt, metal would bend, the hydraulics of some of your vital equipment like the crane can stop working altogether. In this case, you should have spare parts prepared, but the crucial part is sourcing them. Sometimes, it pays to be in contact with ahydraulic hose replacement business just for peace of mind.

Firefighting is a risky job. It’s probably the only job where you can’t really tell if the rewards outweigh the risk. But still, we can rely on them. It could probably be because firefighters are some of the most dedicated people in the world today.