Fireground Video Shows Real Story

The following raw video was shot by Ryan Ling of during the 2007 "Corral Canyon" wildland fire above Malibu, California.  The video is reposted with permission and is an accurate depiction of the dangers and quick-changing conditions while within an active, wind-driven wildfire.  I can be scene briefly in my full brush gear and I'm also the one driving the black Tahoe as we attempt to "bump" down canyon to beat the flames as they jump the road in front of us and behind us.  It's also important to note the debris that we had to negotiate in the roadway including boulders, vehicles, trees, power lines, etc.  These hazards were not present when we drove up canyon so it's another example of the constantly changing conditions and how important it is to stay aware of your escape routes and safe zones.  At the beginning of the video we were in such a safe zone but due to overhead power lines that were burning, we had to move.

Also listen to the radio traffic.  The voices you're hearing are fellow fire photographers communicating with each other on simplex and repeater channels using a "Comm Plan" we usually set up early on during a large scale incident.  Communication is vital on the fireground and you can here that in this video.   Without the radios and each other, someone surely would have been overrun.  As we talk about in the FAP podcast, we use these radios to keep tabs on each other and stay aware of potential hazards, etc.

Covering wildland fires is serious business.  If you're thinking of going off on your own and think you know what you're doing, watch this video and determine for yourself if this is somewhere you want to be.  Special thanks to Ryan Ling for sharing this video.