Philip Connors has spent more than a decade of summers working as a fire lookout, watching over the Black Range of the Gila National Forest in New Mexico from his perch on a 50ft tower. A couple of years ago, in Fire Season: Field Notes From a Wilderness Lookout, he predicted that “the big one” was coming his way. This summer it came, and in The Paris Review he reported on “what it’s like to be plucked from a landscape you love while it’s going up in smoke”.
Connors refers in his piece to the “hotshots” — the elite of wilderness firefighters. A Californian member of one such crew, Gregg Boydston, has been photographing its life and work and sharing it with a growing audience online. A selection of his pictures can be found on High Country News, and more of them on his Instagram feed.