Independent Lens: Wildland

Independent Lens: Wildland

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 10:00pm - 11:00pm

Aidan, one of a crew of wildland firefighters profiled in Wildland

Courtesy of Kahlil Hudson

 A sweeping yet deeply personal account of a single wildland firefighting crew as they struggle with fear, loyalty, dreams, and demons.

 Filmed during two recent wildfire seasons, Wildland is a rich story of working-class men — their exterior world, their interior lives and the fire that lies between. Directed and produced by Alex Jablonski and Kahlil Hudson, Wildland kicks off the new season of Independent Lens Monday, October 29, 2018 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

Every summer, the American West burns. As climate change has increased, average temperatures have risen, resulting in a sudden increase in both the frequency and intensity of wildfires. Inside each of these fires are small crews who work to contain them by hand, using shovels, pickaxes, and methods that haven’t changed in sixty years.

With a lifelong admiration for those who do this dangerous work, filmmakers and native Westerners Jablonski and Hudson went through firefighting training with the men in the film. They toiled alongside and chronicled the lives of the men on their fire crew. Each of them has come to this work for personal reasons — for some, it’s a need to test themselves, or a desire for adventure and purpose; for others, it may be the job of last resort after time in prison or a lifetime of addiction.