My eyes sting, burn, and water blurs my vision. The world around me is a hazy chaotic scene of firefighters in yellow shirts and TV journalists running up and down the street around me. Everywhere you try to breathe there is smoke. I keep hoping for the wind to change direction so that I can get some fresh air. The skin on my face is starting to feel as dry and tough as the leather on my three-year-old boots. This is worse than any campfire you have ever been around because the smoke is everywhere and there is no escaping it.
It sounds like I am describing a war zone of some form, but really I am just describing the scene covering the woods fire at Devil's Hopyard State Park in East Haddam Tuesday. I can still smell the wood smoke on my clothing today. Smoke can make for some very dramatic pictures, but unlike fog which only makes one damp, smoke can be misery to work in. This is not as much a complaint, but more like a statement of fact. There is no other way to get the photos of the firefighters at work and tell their story than to be in the smoke with them.