As wildfires become inevitable, Flagstaff hotshot calls for more active management


Mark Adams

Mark Adams

Mark Adams is one of the top firefighters who fought those catastrophic wildfires near Flagstaff this summer.

When he moved to Flagstaff from the Midwest nearly 30 years ago to attend college, he knew nothing about firefighting — or wildfires. But he needed a job and he loved the outdoors.

He loves the challenge of it – the travel, seeing the western landscapes every summer.

But in recent years, he said the job has gotten harder and the seasons have gotten longer.

Adams is the superintendent of the Flagstaff Hotshot team, and he was at the scene of the tunnel fire and the pipeline fire this summer.

Both were what he calls “career fires” – the kind you’re only supposed to see once in your career. And they both happened in his backyard — in Flagstaff; one, on the city’s famous San Francisco peaks.

These fires did not char the entirety of the iconic mountain this time around, although they did cause significant damage. But in a recent front-page op-ed for the Arizona Daily Sun, Adams says it’s a matter of when — not if — they will.

The Show told him more about his editorial, which reflects his own views, not those of the Forest Service. The conversation started the day he got the call about the start that would become Pipeline Fire. Immediately he knew it wasn’t going to be good.

A view of the O

National Weather Service

A webcam view of O’Leary Peak on June 13, 2022.

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