Fighting fire in Montana proved to be almost an entirely different experience than Alaska. Unlike the Joint Lake Fire, the Lolo Creek Complex was a large, Type I incident, with over 600 personnel assigned to hand crews, engine crews and air operations.
A typical day began before dawn when we boarded a school bus to take us into the fire perimeter. Wearing about 45 pounds of gear, our crew hiked up and down steep terrain and through thick brush digging handline, lighting burnouts and doing mop-up for for hours on end. By the end of the day, you’re exhausted and have plenty of dirt in your nails, ears and in places you didn’t even think possible. Despite the conditions and lack of sleep, our crew did all of this with a positive attitude and there wasn’t a day where our camp wasn’t filled with laughter.