July 4, 2013
Last Friday lightning ignites dry hills near Prescott and we twenty guys in Hotshot Crew put on helmets, backpacks, and other gear, preparing to stop or at least limit fire threatening to destroy homes and thousands of acres. We drive into hills and Sunday afternoon turn on chainsaw to rip incendiary chaparral from earth and swing Pulaski, axing and hoeing out scratch line, determined to starve flames. Instead, in horrific instant, wind shifts and hurls fire right at us, blows fire around us, shoots fire behind us. We can’t retreat to truck or anywhere else. Feeling hell close in someone yells, get in fire shelters. These foil-lined bags have saved scores of firefighters. Now, though, we’re like wrapped meat in ovens. It’s three hundred degrees, four hundred, and soon Hiroshima.