The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Breaking News

July 9, 2013

For firefighters, answer to why is: Someone has to

PRESCOTT, Ariz. — In his book, "Young Men and Fire," Norman Maclean attempted to convey what a crew experiences in the chaos of a mountain firestorm.

"It is really not possible to see the center of a blowup because the smoke only occasionally lifts," the late Montana author wrote, "and when it does all that can be seen are pieces, pieces of death flying around looking for you — burning cones, branches circling on wings, a log in flight without a propeller."

In American culture, the firefighter is almost a mythic being. Immortalized in movies such as "Hellfighters," ''Backdraft" and "Ladder 49," they do things that most people could never conceive of doing. They are, as we see time and again, the first ones into a disaster and the last ones out.

It is no different in the wildland firefighting community, where men and women armed with little more than axes, shovels and chain saws face mountainsides engulfed in flames and, somehow, hope to bring that force of nature to heel.

"You ask yourself: Why are these people willing to put their lives on the line? For people they don't even know?" retired teacher Sharon Owsley asked last week as she stood on the courthouse square in this town north of Phoenix. "Why do they even do this kind of work that's so highly dangerous? Every day it might not be. But then there's that one day that you may not come home."

For 19 members of Prescott's Granite Mountain Hotshots, that day came June 30, when they were overrun while battling a blaze on a ridge in nearby Yarnell. On Tuesday, firefighters from across the nation will join with the men's families, Vice President Joe Biden and other dignitaries to honor the men.

Text Only
Breaking News
  • news_holtzclaw.jpg Policeman accused of serial sex assault on patrol

    An Oklahoma City police officer arrested on charges of serial sexual assault preyed on women in the rundown neighborhoods he was assigned to patrol — picking some up off the street, pulling others over at traffic stops and in one case taking a woman to a nearby school, according to an affidavit released Friday.

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_ferguson.jpg New fear: What happens in Ferguson if no charges?

    Conditions calmed this week in Ferguson after nights of sometimes violent unrest stemming from the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer. But a delicate and crucial question lingers: What happens if the grand jury now considering the case doesn’t return a charge against the officer?

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Toyota to boost SUV production at Indiana factory Toyota says it will spend $100 million to boost production of the Highlander SUV at its southwestern Indiana factory, with plans to add 300 workers in the next couple of years.

    August 22, 2014

  • 18 people rescued from flooded Indiana homes Northwestern Indiana police say firefighters used boats to rescue 18 people after flood waters from heavy overnight rains surrounded their homes.

    August 22, 2014

  • NWS -  HB0823 - Fire-Rozelle Johnson - JC 28a.jpg Lightning might have caused Anderson funeral home fire

    A lightning strike is suspected of starting a fire at Rozelle-Johnson Funeral Services, Ind. 32 and Rangeline Road, early Friday morning.

    August 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Teams test out a new helmet, but does it work?

    Arkansas coach Bret Bielema proudly posted a message on Twitter last spring that featured the Razorbacks' new helmets — a futuristic design by Riddell called the SpeedFlex that is supposed to be the latest in head protection.

    August 22, 2014

  • Airline group forecasts uptick in Labor Day travel

    A trade group for the nation's big airlines predicts that air travel over the Labor Day weekend will rise 2 percent from the same holiday last year.

    August 22, 2014

  • Some US colleges calling students back from Israel

    Some U.S. colleges are pulling students from overseas study programs in Israel as the Gaza war rages, though the relative calm beyond the immediate battle areas is raising questions in some quarters about why they had to leave.

    August 21, 2014

  • Instant noodles: Friend or foe?

    Kim Min-koo has an easy reply to new American research that hits South Korea where it hurts — in the noodles. "There's no way any study is going to stop me from eating this," says Kim.

    August 21, 2014

  • Ohio diocese discourages ALS ice bucket challenge

    A Roman Catholic diocese in Ohio is discouraging its 113 schools from participating in the ice bucket challenge to benefit the ALS Association, saying the group's funding of embryonic stem cell research is "in direct conflict with Catholic teaching."

    August 21, 2014

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

Do you think heroin is a significant problem in Madison County?

Yes, it has surpassed meth as the problem drug
Yes, but meth is still a bigger problem
No, this was an isolated case
Not sure
     View Results