The Station Fire was very, very frustrating. The public information officers (PIOs) were nice, helpful, all-around good people. They let me stay at the fire camp, they geared me up, and then they made sure I wouldn’t get near anything exciting. Especially after I, and an Aussie camera team, managed to shadow a Hotshot crew during a night burn while our PIO scrambled through the dark, thinking his journos were being burned alive in the flames.
It turns out that the incident team I was working with believes that once a journalist gets their help, he is now their charge. More importantly, he’s now their legal liability, and it isn’t worth their while to let him get hurt. They were afraid of being sued. Therefore, they did not want me, nor any other journalist they took in, anywhere near anything that might get him or her hurt.
So, while I got some great stuff from the night fire, the rest of the trip was a wash. Sure, there are some good images, but I never saw action again.