A group of summertime firefighters walking in Idaho
Photo by Kendra Billman

“Fire sounds like a freight train when it’s coming through the trees,” says Kendra L. Billman (’24), a wildlife and wildland conservation student—and a summertime Idaho firefighter.

Featuring her crewmates returning to camp, Billman’s photo (left) was a runner-up in the 2021 Kennedy Center Photo Contest. Due to the pandemic, the contest—usually only for study-abroad students—welcomed any entries reflecting the center’s mantra: Expand your world.

“Some fire is really good for managing the ecosystem,” Billman explains. The rest is quelled by spraying retardant from aircraft, hauling hoses up mountains to pump stream water, and sawing down trees. The work builds comradery, says Billman: “We’re just little solders against this big fire.” 

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