Elite Hotshot firefighters call Vale home

Hotshots get a briefing on the helicopter protocols during a training day. The firefighting team, recently returned from Alaska, reviewed how to load helicopters with supplies using nets and practiced other skills. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)

VALE – It was routine procedure in a rugged, remote Alaskan forest where the Vale Hotshot crew was hard at work containing a fire. Matters turned dangerous with a change in the wind and, suddenly, a wall of fire began creeping through the trees.

It was time to leave.  

“I mean it was almost like a half mile wide stretch of flames, just kind of burning its way towards the lake,” recalled Hotshot Morgan Brackett.

“The wind was not in our favor,” added Matt Page, a rookie Hotshot from Virginia. Page also remembers how the crew found themselves frantically breaking . . .