Three recent forest science graduates from CALS are participating in the massive effort to fight Washington State’s wildfires, which are the largest in the state’s history. Hillary Grabner, BS’13, and Ricky Keller, BS’12, (who met and fell for each other while undergraduates at CALS, pictured together above) and Tim Ketelboeter, BS’11, got involved through their work for the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

The trio were assigned to the Carlton Complex fire. Details about the fire and their working conditions are described in a Wisconsin State Journal article. The experience isn’t for the faint of heart. Here’s an excerpt:

The Carlton Complex fire is a collection of four fires burning in north-central Washington since July 14. Lightning strikes are believed to have caused the fires, which spread quickly in the first week, taking advantage of drought conditions, low humidity and high winds. […]

The crews live in tents, work up to 16 hours a day — some work overnight — and must traverse rocky, hilly terrain while carrying heavy cargo and equipment.

The photos below, shared by Ricky, show some of the devastation from the fire, plus the tent camp where the firefighters sleep:




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