A few weeks ago, in the wake of the Granite Mountain Hotshots tragedy in Arizona, Instagram’s blog highlighted Gregg Boydston, a wildland firefighter whose field photographs give a rare glimpse into the life of those who run toward the fire. But I still wanted to know more, so I called him up.
“You have to become comfortable being uncomfortable,” Boydston, 25, explains.
He is in the midst of his second fire season and his first on a hotshot crew — an elite team of highly trained firefighters. The days are long, stretching from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. or longer. They cut fire lines, burn backfires, and mop up hot ash piles smoldering in the undergrowth. Then it’s back to camp for dinner, chores and maybe, but not frequently, a shower.