Working on fields of fire

Vankleek Hill arsonists

An edited version of this shot ended up on the front page of our local paper (along with this shot: link). The version I gave them was cropped to the guy in orange’s back… but the more I look at it, the more I like the full frame version.

The grass fire was in a village a few miles from Vankleek Hill, called L’Orignal — it’s French for ‘Moose’, and it sits beside the Ottawa River. We saw the smoke on the way home from Ottawa. If it had just been me, I’d probably still be out there shooting. But my girlfriend and our kids were in the car, and I have this weird thing where I’m always thinking I’m keeping people from something.

So I rushed a little bit, and only grabbed fifty-four shots, ten of which were blurred beyond use.

I took most of the shots while standing pretty close to the fire-line, but I was always behind the firefighters.

If this was still the 90’s I have no doubt I’d have gotten between the fire and the firefighters, but somewhere along the line I also picked up a voice that says “okay… this is far enough”, or maybe I’m just listening to it.

The temperature in the shade was close to 30C, I can’t imagine what it was like for these guys. The fire came within a few metres of two housing developments. It took the combined efforts of the Vankleek Hill, Hawkesbury and L’Orignal fire departments to get it under control.

I still have a few more from this set I plan on posting… so if you’ve got a fire, or firefighter, fetish, this is definitely your week. You’re welcome.


*Fields Of Fire is an awesome song [link] by Big Country, off their 1983 release, The Crossing.

Vankleek Hill Photos copyright

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