We’ve had two forest fires burning in Central Washington for a couple of weeks now and I’ve had the opportunity to spend a day photographing each fire. To be more accurate, I’ve spent hours going to and from the places where I could take pictures and only about 15 minutes actually photographing anything of any consequence at each fire. My shooting time was constrained by a variety of factors – the predicted arrival of a lightning storm, deadlines, other photo assignments, fire operations and once the erroneous assumptions of a fire incident command public information officer (“they don’t like to be photographed,” she said. Not true).
Consequently, when I did finally get a chance to photograph firefighters on the two fires my shooting degenerated into a sort of “spray and pray.” That is, shoot a bunch and hope something turns out that tells a story. My A1 photo from the Snag Canyon fire:
My second A1 photo, this one from the South Cle Elum Ridge Fire south of Cle, Elum, Wash.
Several images didn’t make it into print or the web gallery. Still, I like the images. They’re not award winners but I like ’em anyway.
Both the Snag Canyon and South Cle Elum Ridge Fires are mostly contained and the firefighting has moved into a long-term mop-up phase. The news value of the fires is diminishing and we’re moving on to other stories and photos. It’s still tinder-dry here in Central Washington and expect there to be more forest fires before the fire season ends. Hopefully I will have more time to photograph on the next fire.