Wild Lands of the West | The BLM, National Geographic Magazine: Wildland Fire Fighters

Hatchets, gloves and sprays of water are packed in by fire fighters working in forest.

Marine Corps troops trained in fire fighting relieve tired, overburdened fire fighters and put out the last, smoking embers in part of an under-control wildfire in the wilderness near Clear Creek, Idaho. Over 200,000 acres of forest burned in the Clear Creek fire near Echo Canyon.

More than a billion dollars are spent annually suppressing fires that burn millions of acres of western land. The West is a tinderbox. Wild fires spread through thick forests every year because drought and long-term fire suppression make the underbrush a thick forest canopy.