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On the FirelineLiving and Dying with Wildland Firefighters$
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Matthew Desmond

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226144085

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226144078.001.0001

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Learning and Burning

Learning and Burning

(p.142) 5 Learning and Burning
On the Fireline

Matthew Desmond

University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes how firefighters are educated, trained, and disciplined by their host organization. It begins by describing the training crewmembers receive for fighting fires, whether those fires are as small as a tent or as monstrous as the Rodeo fire. The chapter focuses specifically on the fundamental rules of wildland firefighting—The Ten Standard Fire Orders and the Eighteen Situations That Shout “Watch Out!”—because these mandates are the sacred commandments of firefighters; they are the unquestioned, fundamental doctrines of the Forest Service, which promise to keep firefighters safe. After explaining how firefighters are introduced to the Orders and Situations through training exercises and supervisors' injunctions, it recalls a single night on the front lines of the Rodeo fire to show how crewmembers apply these rules in the hot and fast action of firefighting.

Keywords:   firefighter training, wildland firefighting, Forest Service

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