Texas is Burning – Magnolia Fires 2011

There is a historic event happening in Texas.  Many hundreds of wild fires are destroying thousands of structures and many more thousands of acres of land.  These fires are not in isolated forested but in highly populated communities.

Firefighters who are responding are urban firefighters and are handicapped by the type of equipment they have, hoses which reach 150-200 feet and not 1000 feet into a forest, trucks which hold 250-1000 gallons of water and have to be refilled in a matter of minutes.   They are up against fire which is spreading in all directions due to high winds and insanely dry conditions.

I had the opportunity to ride with Westlake Squad 42 and Forest Bend Engine 125 over a two day period as they battled the fires in Tri-County area of Montgomery, Waller and Grimes Counties.  What I learned was enlightening.  I came away humbled and honored that these men would allow me to capture them at work.

Firefighters are a unique group; they are intensely loyal and intensely private about how they do their work.   They do not talk to the media, they do not want journalist taking their photos, they do their job with a high level of anonymity and they like it like that.  There is an instant bond with other firefighters as they work together.  There are unspoken rules and a language all their own.

These men let me into their world and it was the most amazing experience.  I found them to be protective, funny, engaging and passionate about fire.  They are modern day dragon slayers.  The bigger the dragon the more pumped up they are.  Once the dragon is down and the danger is over they take great pride in what they do.  One man said “DAMN we are good! Fire within feet of those houses but nothing lost in the section”  They are fearless in the field, yet in command of their every move.  They communicate with each other constantly.  They always know where their company is; it’s an amazing thing to witness and even more amazing to document.

While I was in the fire zone there were no major dragons to slay.   However, what these men were doing was just as important as the fire they fought the night before.  They were containing the fire.  Going back into areas and putting out small fires (what they call hot spots & flare ups).  Many times the water lines were too short to go where the fire was, so the men covered the fire with soot and soil.   I was shocked at the level of heat in these areas.  If I stood in one place for too long my feet would feel like they were on fire because the ground was still burning just under the ash.   Trees smoldering, ground smoldering, and smoke which is so thick it is like fog.  When the wind blows, ash falls from the sky like snow.

One of the reasons I believe fire fighters are so private about what they do is because most of us have no reference experience for what they do and unless you have seen and experienced their work, no words can adequately express it.

These images are but a glance into this brotherhood.

My deepest thanks goes out to all the men of Squad 42 and Engine125 – you guys are the best and I feel honored to have had the opportunity to have ridden with you.

All images are copyrighted by Francie Baltazar Stonestreet – FireHeart Photography – no image may be copied or reproduced without expressed permission.

For additional images – view the video slide show CLICK HERE


September 14, 2011 - 4:15 pm

Jaime Levay - I am always inspired by your work and knowledge! Your pictures are fantastic and what a wonderful opportunity for you. Thank you for sharing!

September 14, 2011 - 9:50 pm

Pamela - Francine, such stunning photographs giving others a glimpse into the firefighters’ work-day. What heros they are, and how grateful I am for all they are doing for our beautiful Texas! Thank you!

September 15, 2011 - 1:51 pm

Suzanne - Incredible photojournalism, Francie! Thanks for this glimpse into the lives of heroes!

August 3, 2012 - 4:35 pm

Optirerveeven - It’s worthy of your though to maintain copies of those information anywhere it is possible to accessibility them simply and rapidly. srfillergibberillicye rjqzxwyxdc Golden Rule #1: Search for prospects to receive right into a dialogue with people today.

March 15, 2016 - 2:27 pm

DOLCE&GABBANA ドルチェ&ガッバーナ D&G レザーベルト DC0381 E1329 80047 ブラウン D&Gロゴ ハイウエストベルト ウエストマーク サイズ75 80 85 90 95 100【smtb-k】【w2】【5250円以上のお買い物で - Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thanks

March 23, 2016 - 6:53 am

【500円クーポン配布中】KP56417 直送 代引支払・他メーカー同梱不可 åºŠæ´—ã„ã‚¦ã‚©ãƒƒã‚·ãƒ£ãƒ¼ï¼ - Its such as you learn my mind! You seem to grasp a lot about this, like you wrote the e book in it or something. I think that you just could do with some % to pressure the message home a little bit, however instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

March 30, 2016 - 5:30 am
April 1, 2016 - 7:31 pm

★大感謝価格★ 【光触媒フレッシュ胡蝶蘭L 3a0903-120】★送料無料★ ã€ãƒ¡ãƒ¼ã‚«ãƒ¼ç›´é€å“ã€‚ä» - When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

April 2, 2016 - 10:24 pm

ダイニングボード 食器棚 カップボード 食器台 キッチンボード キッチン収納 木製 å¹…100cm åŒ—æ¬ - Hey very nice web site!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds also? I’m satisfied to seek out numerous useful info right here within the put up, we need develop extra techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *