So my favorite hiking place caught fire on Monday (Oct 19th). It burned around 50 acres or so.
When I woke up from my alarm, I realized that the Dana Peak Park fire had gotten big enough that the West Side Strike team had been called and therefore our guys from Central Bell County Fire and Rescue were out there and had apparently been out there for a while.
I sent out a quick text to one of the Captain’s asking if they would be out there for a while. He said yes and could I bring coffee. After the kids got off to school, I made my way to the station to talk to Chief, so I could figure out what my plan of attack was going to be.
For those that don’t know, two of my positions at the fire department are Auxiliary Chairperson and Photographer. So it’s my job to make sure they are taken care of on long calls AND get some amazing pictures of them doing their thing =).
When I got to the station we decided I would ride out there in one of the department SUV’s with one of the firefighters that was going back out, so I could run firefighters back and forth from the fire and so I could provide rehab as needed.
Dana Peak Park Fire
I showed up with around 20 dozen donuts and they were literally gone within seconds between all the different departments that were there at that point. As we pulled up Chief came over the radio asking if we were there because they were about to do a drop from one of the tankers and told me to make sure and get pictures.
So I scrambled out of the SUV to find a good spot to set up. I tried a couple of locations but I was scared the tree line would be in the way. Finally I found a spot on one of Killeen FD’s brush trucks (I think it was a brush truck lol). Huge thanks to those guys for inviting me up there with them!
Below is the resulting picture! Look at how close we were!
In fact we were so close that some of our guys that were further down the road thought for sure that we (me and the other guys on the KFD truck) were going to get hit with it. But we were completely safe. It’s funny how angles can make things appear as something they aren’t. From their angle it looked like the tanker flew directly over us.
Anyway, all throughout the day there were also helicopters dropping water over areas of the fire. That was also pretty neat to watch. In fact it was right before I shot the below picture that my editor called and asked if by chance I was out at the fire and if so would I mind “covering it”. Sure, not a problem. I am out here anyway, might all well get paid to do a story on it ;).
And while those pictures were awesome, I really like it when they let me go right into the middle of it with them =)
It’s funny because one of them said, “do you realize your are the only media that is out here in this, all the other ones are staged far away from the area. You know they are going to be jealous”. Then he laughed. I never really thought of it. I often forget that while I am out there that I am also a journalist and have “inside” connections and can go where the other media can’t. I guess mostly because when I am on fire or accident scenes in my mind I am there to capture the moment not worry about what kind of “story” it will make.
Anyway, if you want to see a slide show of all the pictures I took that day, check out my photography website: Fine Art by Bridget
If you are interested in reading the article I wrote for the Harker Heights Evening Star, they have it online here.
To see pictures three months after the fire, check out my blog post Sidewinder Trail is No More at Dana Peak Park