Our Fire, Our Fight 

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OF 11
John Gibbons, with the Orleans Somes Bar Fire Safe Council, ignites brushy woods near private residences in late spring with a teapot-like device called a drip torch. It’s a tactic to reduce fuels in case wildfire comes later. Photo by Erica Terence
A helicopter drops water on the unburned side of the East Peak line. The intentional ignition, or backburn, flared up in a concentration of fuels called a jackpot. The wind favored the firefighters: It shifted later in the evening. Photo by Ivan Erskine
A bomber drops fire retardant on what was hoped to be the unburned side of the East Peak fire line as firefighters ignite the other side. Photo by Ben Beaver
Building a fireline is dirty work: Firefighters cut trees, drag back slash and scrape to mineral soil. Behind them, their crewmates are already lighting the backburn. Photo by Susan Terence
On the Fourth of July, five days before the fire raced up at Ryan Wiegel’s place, it exploded and threw up a huge plume of smoke. Much of the fire until then had been relatively cool underburn. Photo by Susan Terence
When firefighters started a burnout near Jim Bennett’s, it started a firestorm that carried fire across the Salmon River, where there had been no fire. Water drops from three helicopters plus a hotshot crew were needed to control it. Photo by Monkey Monk
Huge flames approached structures on Ryan Wiegel’s property, but then dropped when they crossed a low ridge that deflected their heat, probably the biggest factor in saving the structures. Photo by Monkey Monk
After the firestorm, little was left alive downslope from Wiegel’s place. The fire was the result of an uphill blaze in slash and brush left behind by salvage logging in the mid 1970s. Photo by Monkey Monk
Ryan Wiegel walks through the aftermath two months after the fires. The scorched slope of East Peak is in the background. Photo by Malcolm Terence
On the cover: Allgood-Portuguese fire, 2008. Photo by Scott Harding

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