Fire on the Mountain (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Check out this beautifully put-together new short documentary on the many mysteries of fire, highlighting the Missoula Fire Lab's work in Montana. Definitely worth 10 minutes of your day!

From the Source: 

"Last June, 19 firefighters lost their lives trying to control a blaze near Yarnell, Arizona—the highest death toll for firefighters battling a wildfire in this country since 1933. What went wrong? Is it time to reconsider our approach to fighting fire?"

"Fire is inevitable. You can defer it, but it’s a pay-me-now-or-pay-me-later scenario."

"We’re paying for that blindness now. Across the West, enormous swaths of forest and shrubland are loaded with decades’ worth of built-up fuel. Climate change is compounding the problem: years of drought are turning much of that fuel into tinder; fire season is starting earlier and ending later; bugs are surviving warmer winters and killing vast numbers of trees, increasing the risk that fires will start and spread; and some forests destroyed by fire aren’t growing back, because faster-growing shrub and grass species are taking over before new trees can establish themselves. What it all means is that when fires start, they burn hotter and more destructively than ever before, often killing trees that would have survived less-intense heat."

"The success of fire shelters often depends on where they’re deployed, and on the intensity of the fire. The Granite Mountain Hotshots could not have been in a worse place for deploying their shelters: they were walled in on three sides by rising slopes that would funnel and pull the fire, and surrounded by a six-foot-high tangle of very dry fuel."

"When Marsh saw the fire turn the corner into the bowl, the crew had maybe three or four minutes until the flames would reach them. They picked an area where the vegetation wasn’t as dense and started clearing a spot for their shelters, between two shallow troughs that carry runoff into Yarnell. This was the point at which Marsh radioed his plans, with chain saws audible in the background. His sawyers cut down gamble oak and manzanita, to give the crew at least a small area free of fuels where they could lie down. Other hotshots dragged the branches away from the clearing and lit fires at the perimeter to burn off more fuels and increase the distance between themselves and the main fire when it arrived. In the final moments before the fire closed in, as they had been trained to do, they began to toss all their equipment outside the perimeter of the clearing, especially combustible items such as torches and chain-saw gas and oil. But the fire roared in too fast for them to finish the job. Later, fire-behavior analysis would suggest that it crossed the last 100 yards toward them in 19 seconds, burning at about 2,000 degrees."

  Above: "Names of the fallen hotshots, scribbled on a whiteboard in the resource room at the fire station the day of the Yarnell Hill Fire and left untouched ever since." Credit: The Atlantic

Above: "Names of the fallen hotshots, scribbled on a whiteboard in the resource room at the fire station the day of the Yarnell Hill Fire and left untouched ever since." Credit: The Atlantic