Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
How Fighting Wildfires Works [video] (youtube.com)
33 points by CaliforniaKarl 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments

I'm a structural firefighter and routinely spend time inside burning buildings. Wildland firefighters are _crazy_

"That mountain is on fire. Here's your shovel..."

I was a forest firefighter. We always thought structure peeps were nuts. No way am I going in to that thing that has gas and electricity. I’ll take my Pulaski and dig my line thanks much.

That's hilarious. As a non-firefighter who sometimes spends time in both structures and forests, I'm glad both of your types of nutjobs exist. :)

Granted. I probably don’t know as much about firefighting as you..

My experience growing up in an area where forest fires happen on a yearly basis is that there is a different cost/benefit calculus with regards to human safety that goes on in a typical forest fire versus a urban structure fire. Eg, one building in city gets started on fire and causes the whole city to burn can cause much more loss than letting the ‘natural’ forest burn and go through its historical ecological cycle.

That being said: The people I know who fight forest fires seem to enjoy it and look at it pretty positively.

I had an emergency response training with a firefighter today and he said they call regular firefighters "pavement divas". He said he would never trade with forest firefighters. Their work is just too hard.

Here's how I think of it wildland firefighting: it's just emergency landscape maintenance under the worst possible, potentially life threatening conditions.

[I'm a volunteer in a local rural area, at the last all-volunteer station in the state.]

[P.S. I missed closeparen's comment below. We think similarly]

Yeah, he's not wrong about that... A "bad" structure fire is a few hours of work. A "normal" forest fire is a few days.

> Cal Fire

Unfortunately the general pilot shortage and the longer fire season is starting to impact Cal Fire, leaving a few airtanks grounded without pilots. These pilots traditionally worked on a seasonal schedule: ~four months of heavy firefighting with minimal time off, with the rest of the year spent recuperating (aka "unemployment"). Trying to extend the heavy-work period (or even make it year-round) is burning people out.


It’s striking how much fighting wars is “just” extreme construction, and fighting wildfires is “just” extreme landscaping.

i feel like where i live, they don't fight wildfires, they just watch them burn and do structure protection.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact