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A Conversation with Dad

The visual story of our family's daily life while dad is away on a 14 day wildfire assignment, with photographs and videos from Mom, Dad and our two kids.

Funding and support provided by The American Wildfire Experience 2022 Storytelling Grant.

Tim (Dad) was assigned to the Double Creek Fire on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in Oregon on September 19, 2022. He was ordered as a 'division' where his role was leading a large group that was repairing and rehabbing miles of fire line with heavy equipment. By the end of the 'roll' his nickname was 'Big Iron Fondriest'. Typically, in the mainstream media, we see images of raging wildfires, but there are many tasks involved in wildland firefighting that don't involve flames and smoke. Towards the end of a large fire's life - fixing all the line that was put in to stop the fire is what assigned resources are largely consumed with doing. The Double Creek fire started on August 30, 2022 and when Tim arrived there, it was over 150,000 acres and nearing containment. He's worked his way up over the years from hand crews, to a hotshot crewmember, Engine Boss and task force leader among other positions to where he is today, going to fires in charge of a whole Division and tackling whatever task is ahead of them - whether it's active suppression or fire line 'rehab'.

Terra also has a background in wildland fire, having served on a hotshot crew for a few years in the mid 2000s, along with several other years of seasonal fire work before settling down with Tim and becoming a mom. Tim heading off to fires took on a new meaning once the kids were born, with her anxieties heightened navigating parenting little ones at their rural home in the Ozark hills while dad was off fighting wildfires. The dangers somehow became clearer and our priorities shifted. Terra grew a love for visual storytelling throughout those years while her kids were tiny, as a way to help process life's changes and as a creative outlet. The kids are a little older now, but working on this project as a collaboration with all family members was a way for us all to share how we see life when dad's away on an assignment and let others connect with our family's experience.
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