Photograph by Derek Bland, National Geographic Your Shot
While the U.S. West Coast burns, firefighters are in the thick of it, protecting lives and property from going up in flames.
This year's fire season is on track to break records, according to news reports. The record for Oregon and Washington State occured in 2012, when 1.2 million acres burned. So far this year, about a million acres have been scorched in those two states, and fire season isn't over.
But for all the danger and damage wildfires generate every year, the public is rarely allowed past the line of fire trucks, for good reason. (Read about fire season in National Geographic magazine.)
"The only thing we know about these fires is from the news," says Mark Thiessen, staff photographer at National Geographic. Thiessen has covered wildfires for almost 20 years. "So unless we have friends or relatives that are firefighters, the broader public doesn't get to see [their] perspective."
Thiessen wanted to give firefighters a chance to share their view of the fiery world they inhabit every summer. So he started the #Wildfire2014 hashtag on Your Shot, National Geographic's photo community.
Firefighters from around the country have responded, submitting pictures like the one above. Derek Bland caught a group of hotshots—a crew of highly trained firefighters that work on the front lines of a blaze—as they gathered for a briefing in Oregon on August 3.
—Jane J. Lee
Published August 14, 2014