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from Photographers' Blog:

Fighting fire with photos

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Ketchum, Idaho

By Jim Urquhart

Fire in the west has always been part of my experience. In the summer months I often find the blue skies replaced with a dark orange glow of smoke. With my chosen career path these smoke-filled skies can mean a busy time of year but they seem to have started later in the summer than usual.

I keep a complete fire kit (nomex shirt, nomex pants, emergency fire shelter, leather boots, leather gloves, helmet and goggles) in my truck from the time the snow melts in the spring to until several inches of snow have returned in the fall. I found you always have to be ready to go and nimble because in the heat of the west all it takes is one errant cigarette butt, one hot car engine parked in the dry grass or one well-placed powerful lightning bolt to be called to work.

GALLERY: IDAHO WILDFIRE

The year's fires began to take shape for me last week. During a camping trip bolts of lighting had started several fires that were visible on the way home. These fires for the most part were in unpopulated areas. Then an afternoon looking at photos with friends was interrupted with the news of fire breaking out east of Park City, Utah, of the hills above the Rockport Reservoir. I monitored the growth from afar through the night but when it was determined that it had begun to take homes I struck out to cover it in the morning.

Once on scene it became apparent that while the risk for more fire was still there, it was more or less going to be a mop-up operation for some time to come. Then we got word that two fires near the towns of Boise and Mountain Home, Idaho had been really demonstrating some aggressive behavior. I had a couple contacts from previous fires that I've worked on before that were assigned to work these fires. We chatted and I was on my way first thing the next morning.

from Photographers' Blog:

Marathon inferno

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Marathon, Greece

By Yannis Behrakis

It was a typical August day in Athens -- very hot and windy. I was driving around town on my scooter when I stopped next to a fire brigade jeep at a traffic light. An officer in the vehicle asked me if I was happy with my scooter. I said: “yes I'm happy. Are you happy with the weather conditions?" He smiled and said: "I'm sure we will have many forest fires these days. There are a few burning in central Greece as we speak."

It was less than an hour later when I received a message on my mobile phone from the fire brigade about a fire in Marathon, some 40-45 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of Athens, where the Athenians fought the Persians in a historic battle in 490 BC. Sources said that police and the fire brigade had started evacuating a hamlet in the area. I took my gear and a few masks for the dust and raced to the area on my scooter. It was really windy and for the last few miles, the traffic on Marathon Avenue was heavy -- both ways -- as some people were fleeing and others were trying to reach their homes and protect them from what looked to be a fire out of control. Police were stopping vehicles from reaching the area to provide clear access to fire engines and fire brigade troops. In order to pass through, I drove closely to a speeding ambulance and managed to pass all the police check points.

from Photographers' Blog:

Pierced by a mother’s grief

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Gujrat, Islamabad

By Faisal Mahmood

It was my day off, but for some reason I’d woken up early. As I was about to have breakfast with my wife and children the phone rang. It was my picture editor. A school bus had caught fire in Gujrat, 100 miles from Islamabad. Seventeen children were dead.

As I gathered my cameras, I could not stop thinking about how the parents must have sent their children to school after sharing the same kind of breakfast we’d just been having at home. I was dreading what I would find.

from Photographers' Blog:

Lahore Inferno: Losing the battle with fire

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WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT

Lahore, Pakistan

By Damir Sagolj

A man wearing traditional white Pakistani clothes disappeared from the window back into the burning building. A minute later, a different man wearing black emerged from inside but it looked like someone was holding his lifeless body. The body was slowly pushed over the edge of the window and then released. Twenty seconds later the man in white came out again. He sat calmly for a few seconds in the open window with his back turned outwards and then just fell.

GALLERY: MEN FALL FROM BUILDING INFERNO

And that was it; both men were dead in less than a minute. After several long hours of fighting a raging fire (or were they short hours? Time gets twisted in extreme situations like this), this part of the story ended in the way I had feared from the beginning - the worst possible way. I shot pictures of people falling from the building to their deaths, of others crying on the ground, of desperate and helpless rescue workers.

from Photographers' Blog:

The tragic legacy of KISS

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Santa Maria, Brazil

By Ricardo Moraes

It was an unforgettable end to enormous pain and a ravaged mind. The last day of coverage of one of Brazil’s greatest tragedies touched me so much that I’m only going to tell how the story ended.

The morning of January 30, 2013, I met a woman who was devastated, confused, and completely lost inside of herself - wounded to the heart.

from Photographers' Blog:

The KISS that ended in tragedy

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Santa Maria, Brazil

By Edison Vara

It was early Sunday when my cell phone began ringing nonstop. Reuters called to inform me of a tragedy that was happening in the Kiss nightclub in the city of Santa Maria, with more than 70 known dead initially. That number would soon rise past 230. After more than 30 years as a photojournalist I was still jolted by the news, grabbed my equipment, and left for the site three hours away.

When I reached the gymnasium in Santa Maria where the bodies were being taken for identification, I was shocked to see the parents, children, brothers and sisters of victims searching for information, but I had to photograph all these moments of desperation, with respect for those who didn’t want me to.

from Photographers' Blog:

Riding through flames and fury

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San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain

By Sergio Perez

Despite its relative short distance from Madrid, around 100km (62 miles), I have never been in the small village of San Bartolome de Pinares. It is situated in the heart of a small valley surrounded by reservoirs and forest and is well known to trekkers and cyclists alike. However, a traditional night celebration which takes place every January 16th, known as “Las Luminarias”, is little known.

During the celebration, in honor of Saint Anthony, Patron of animals, revelers ride their horses through the narrow cobble-stoned streets to purify the animals with the smoke and flames of the bonfires.

from MediaFile:

Great artists steal, tablet edition

By Aaron Presssman
The opinions expressed are his own.

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso via 1994 Steve Jobs

Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablet seems like the anti-iPad to many. With its chunky design, smaller low resolution screen and occasionally stuttering software interface, the Fire has been blasted by some of the iPad's biggest fans. And they've predicted it too will end up on the growing trash heap of previous iPad competitors that arrived with high expectations only to be found selling on Woot for 75 percent off six months later.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Maybe the worst idea EVER?

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People ask me where I get all the stupid stuff in this blog, and I have to say, honestly, the best of it is straight out of the news.

Here's an example. According to an Associated Press story, officials in Georgia are considering saving money by putting prisoners in fire stations.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Let’s do something spontaneous, Baby!

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Hey Blog Guy, how come you're sitting in that huge tub of ice cubes up to your neck?

That's my new "home." I eat, sleep and blog here, under constant monitoring.

Um, that's a little strange, Blog Guy. You want to explain what's going on?

Sure. A coroner in Ireland has officially ruled that a man who burned to death in his home died as a result of spontaneous combustion. The coroner said it's the first time in 25 years of investigating deaths that he has recorded such a verdict.

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