[VIDEO] “Unskilled Labor:” a Season With the Hotshots | Wildland Fire Documentary Hotshot Firefighter Crew

Firebrains | FireFire

“Unskilled Labor” is a documentary about the 2020 fire season from the Sawtooth Hotshots’ point of view. The video allows the watcher to experience a wildfire as a wildland firefighter. It shows the daily crew life of working as a hotshot wildland firefighter.

In July, firefighters online and across the United States weighed in to criticize U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, for a remark the Mother Lode congressman made in a July 1 Union Democrat article, that wildfire firefighting “is not skilled labor.”

His remark first appeared in the July 1 edition of The Union Democrat in a story about how the Stanislaus National Forest is operating with just 75% of its full contingent for fire staffing, in part because other fire agencies offer better pay and benefits than the U.S. Forest Service, according to the Union Democrat.

McClintock tried to clarify his remark in a letter to the editor that appeared in the July 10 edition of the newspaper. According to the publication, firefighters have continued a firestorm of criticism online and contacted The Union Democrat to criticize the first apology. McClintock was later quoted saying in response to his statement:

“It was a poor choice of words, for which I apologize.”


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4 thoughts on “[VIDEO] “Unskilled Labor:” a Season With the Hotshots | Wildland Fire Documentary Hotshot Firefighter Crew

  1. Tom McClintock is scum. This is totally on-brand for him.

    Great film highlighting these hard-working heroes.

  2. What a fantastic film. Its crazy that in the USA Wildland firefighters are paid so little. Here in Australia, career firefighters (seasonal and permanent) are well unionised and have good conditions. Huge respect for the hard work of the crews like the Sawtooth Hotshots.

  3. We should be using low risk prisoners who are sitting around doing nothing, gear up and go out to attack these. Maybe they can get early release or learn a trade to be used after they get out of jail.

    In the off season they should be used to clear the underbrush and thin the forests so we don’t have such devastating, out of control fires in the future.

    1. Hey, California has been using “prisoners” for decades. They have been receiving Woodland Firefighting Training at the minimum security prison in Susanville, as well as several “conservation camps” all over CA. By the way, what does Newsom have to do with this? The major fires the past couple of years have occurred on U.S. Forest Service lands. The U.S.F.S. has to beg Congress for firefighting funds every year, but this is not a priority of the Republicans who “serve their time” in D.C. doing nothing but running their mouths.

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