The first “significant” wildfire of the season was last Thursday. Of course, we went rushing out to cover it. For me it was an interesting experiment in convergence journalism and journalism for the web.
The newspaper wanted a photo as quick as possible to throw up on the web. Quality didn’t really matter– they just wanted a photo that gave some sort of overview of the scene. So, within 30 seconds of getting to the fire, I took this picture with my iPhone and emailed it back to the newsroom. Within minutes, it was up on the web. By no means is it a good photo. It actually sucks. But, it gets the general point across:
So, with this photo sent in, I put on my fire gear and actually covered the fire with a real camera. After about an hour or so, the paper wanted some more images. Without internet or a wireless cell card, I had no way to transmit the images. But, wait, what about that trusty iPhone? I edited all the photos on my computer and then synced the picture folder with the phone. Then, from my phone, I emailed all the images back to the photo editor from a person’s driveway. I never had to leave the scene of the fire. If I had to leave, I wouldn’t have been able to get back in since the police had set up roadblocks.
Thanks to the trusty phone, all was well in the journalism world.
But, as wildfires go, this one was pretty small (only about 14 acres). Then, Michael Jackson died so nobody really cared about the fire once I got back to the newsroom…
A helicopter drops fire retardant on a brush fire burning near New Washoe City, NV Thursday, June 25, 2009. Two helicopters and two single engine air tankers (SEATs) were on scene to help contain the blaze that was burning near homes. (© John Schreiber/Reno Gazette-Journal)
A firefighter works to contain a brush fire burning near homes on South Jumbo Way near New Washoe City, NV Thursday, June 25, 2009. Firefighters were able to contain the flames and no homes were lost in the fire. (© John Schreiber/Reno Gazette-Journal)
A helicopter drops water on a brush fire nearing a home on South Jumbo Way near New Washoe City, NV Thursday, June 25, 2009. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze that was accidentally started by NV Energy crews working on power lines nearby. (John Schreiber/Reno Gazette-Journal)
A single engine air tanker (SEAT) drops fire retardant near a home to protect from a brush fire burning near New Washoe City, NV Thursday, June 25, 2009. No homes were lost in the 14-acre blaze. (© John Schreiber/Reno Gazette-Journal)