Behind the Line: The Inside Story of Wildland Firefighters
Absolutely. It’s like a third as long as it could have been!
With this book, I wanted to keep the storytelling element true to the storyteller and how he would tell this story to other firefighters in the line of fire or around a warming fire. I didn’t remove any of the fire terms as they told their story. But I didn’t want people to get lost in the story if they didn’t know a certain term. The elaboration of the glossary required a lot of work.
What should the public understand better about firefighters?
The first thing that comes to mind is that this is the largest community of selfless people I have ever encountered. It’s a community of people truly motivated to do the right thing for the greater good. There is a lot of pride in this work, and people feel a strong sense of purpose in doing the work.
Well, we certainly know firefighters aren’t in it for the money.
It’s (altruism) what drives people to keep doing the job in the face of the fact that the level of pay is essentially offensive to the level of risk involved in the job and what is expected of people – like the time spent away from home. It could be compared to someone who is in the military, except that in the military it is recognized that a lot is put on them, so there are a lot of resources and programs to assistance provided to members of the military, while the firefighting community has none of that.
Would you like this to be corrected?
Whenever this comes up, if people hear about legislation for wildland firefighters, I would tell them to do what you can to support these measures, as they are desperately needed by the firefighting community.
Can you give us a brief overview of your own career as a firefighter?