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December 18, 2020

Boulder v. Hill

What the day-to-day business of saving the world looks like. We visit with one group of people who are trying to rescue us from something very large, and another group trying to rescue us from something very small.

The Little Tujunga Hotshots at the Creek Fire

Zach Hanson

Note: The internet version of this episode contains un-beeped curse words. BEEPED VERSION.

Prologue

To fight those massive fires out west, there are these camps hidden from view. If you were driving by, you might not even know they’re there. We visited one of them in central California for the Creek Fire — one of the largest fires in the state’s history. Hundreds of people were living and working there, trying to put the fire out. The first crew we met was this young group of twenty-somethings who spend all day, every day, untangling miles and miles of fire hoses. Producer Miki Meek talks to them. (5 minutes)

The Extinguishers

We heard about these fire camps from Lizzie Johnson. She’s a reporter at The San Francisco Chronicle and spends most of the year chasing fires around California. She took Miki and one of our other producers, Lilly Sullivan, to the Creek Fire camp with her and has stories of people doing all kinds of jobs you never think about — from laundry to printing maps and hiking out to the farthest corners of a blaze. (29 minutes) 

More from Lizzie:

The Other Extinguishers

For years one group of people has been trying to push a giant boulder to the top of a hill, like Sisyphus. But in this case, it looks like they’ve actually succeeded! David Kestenbaum spoke with four scientists who have been working on a coronavirus vaccine, one that was just shown to work. (21 minutes)

Song:

“One Foot in Front of the Other” by Emilie Autumn