Elle James: Chasing Fire

Elle James: Chasing Fire

Update! Thursday’s winner is Gail Siuba!

Contest Note: Post a comment today and you’ll be entered to win Elle’s prize package (see bottom of this post)!


Tribute to those we lost

Smoke jumpers have one of the most dangerous jobs a man can perform. Not only are they fighting the fires that rage across our lands, they are jumping from planes into these infernos in an effort to get ahead of and slow the ravaging flames, not knowing if they will make it out alive.

In light of the recent tragedy where 19 smoke jumpers/Hot Shots lost their lives in the Arizona wildfire, I’d like to dedicate this blog posting to those brave souls who gave their lives to save others. They will forever be in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your service.

Firefighters Killed

From “Chasing Fire” by Elle James

A daring smoke jumper braves a forest inferno while
fighting for the woman who makes him burn.

Smokin Hot FiremenChance Muldoon checked his gear one more time as he stood beside the plane’s open door, wind blasting his face, the acrid scent of smoke already burning his nostrils. Ahead of them, in the distance, red flames shot high as fire lit the evening sky to the west. Towering stands of Ponderosa pines, already ravaged by ravenous pine beetles, lit up like torches. A hot summer wind charged across the mountains like a freight train, fanning the flames, sending flames higher, climbing the hills, consuming all which lay before it at a breathtaking pace.

Adrenaline shot through Chance’s veins as he prepared to jump in front of the fast-moving line of fiery death. This was his world, his job, his life as a smoke jumper.

“Ready?” The most experienced spotter, also their strike team leader, called out.

Six other men, all wearing similar jumpsuits, harnessed into parachutes and lined up behind Chance, who nodded, prepared to jump on command.

The chief pointed at a break between the trees, where what looked like a slim thread of silver shone up through the gathering smoke. “Anchor point is between that stream and the rock escarpment,” he shouted over the roar of the engines. “We’ll create our own fireline and then backburn to consume the fuel ahead of the storm.”

Chance gave him another nod, patted his chute, and checked the big harness on the paracargo box full of the tools and equipment they would need for the fight. The jumper’s job was to jump ahead of the fire and create a break in the fire’s path to rob it of the fuel it needed to continue its march across thousands of acres of forest. An entire community of more than a hundred homes stood in the path of the raging inferno. If they didn’t stop it first, the homes would be nothing more than tinder, burnt to a crisp, when the beast was done with them. Any livestock or unfortunate animals left behind would be killed, either burned to death or succumbing to smoke inhalation.

The strike team leader shouted. “Go!”

A team of paracargo handlers shoved the box out the door. The static line jerked and the paracargo chute opened, lifting it up and away from the aircraft.

When the spotter called out “Go!” again, Chance didn’t think, didn’t hesitate. As the first man standing at the door, he jumped. As soon as he cleared the fuselage, the static line triggered the release of his parachute and it unfurled, jerking him upward.

The plane flew on, dropping its load of jumpers two at a time, chutes bursting open like popcorn in the sky.

Elle’s Bio:

Elle James spent twenty years in South Central Texas, ranching horses, cattle, goats, ostriches and emus. A former IT professional, retired Army and Air Force Reservist, she’s proud to be writing full-time, penning intrigues and paranormal adventures that keep her readers on the edge of their seats or laughing out loud. Now, living in northwest Arkansas, she’s given up wrangling cattle and exotic birds to wrangle her muses, a malti-poo and a yorkie. When she’s not at her computer, she’s traveling, out snow skiing, boating, or riding her four-wheeler, dreaming up new stories.

Social Media:
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SMF 7-11-Prize

58 thoughts on “Elle James: Chasing Fire

  1. My heart just breaks any time we lose a Firefighter – and to lose 19 at once! Crazy! My heart goes out to them and their families.

  2. It’s heart breaking to hear about those courageous men who lost thier lives.
    Thanks for sharing the post…

  3. I was burned badly as a child but know it was many times worse for the firefighters.

    1. Joan,
      Me too. I turnd 4 in the hospital. Had 3rd degree burns over 1/3 of my body, spend a couple months in the burn ward getting grafting. It’s a horrible thing to happen.

  4. It is amazing what they do, and the courage they have to d it. It’s so heart wrenching when stuff like that happens. My heart goes out to the families.

    Awesome dedication to those lost! 🙂

  5. Thank you to you for acknowledging these amazing men and women. I worked in AZ and the smoke jumpers would come to get coffee and food before heading back out and they are amazing people. They would be filthy and exhausted and slam down some food and coffee and be raring to go back out.
    My prayers are with their friends and families. Carin

  6. It’s amazing what they do, and the courage they have to do it! It’s so heart wrenching when stuff like that happens. My heart goes out to the families!

    Awesome tribute post! 🙂

    1. Sorry didn’t mean to post twice. My iPad froze an. Didn’t see the first one. Sorry 🙂

  7. I love hero books . And my thoughts and prayers go out to those hotshots and all their familys.

  8. what a lovely thing to do 🙂 the news of this tragedy was heartbreaking. thanks for the chance to win (I WANT that Boner bag )

  9. I was heartsick when I heard about the 19 firefighters that lost their battle. I still tear up just thinking about the horror of it all and the families they left behind. They are in my prayers.

    Thanks for taking a moment to acknowledge AZ’s heros.

    Thank goodness for books, they allow me to take a break from the rough realities of life.

    1. I’m one of those who tears up too when I think about what they must have gone through and the families back home. Makes my chest hurt. Yeah, books help take me away too. That’s why I write romance. I want my happy endings to give me hope.

  10. So nice to see that people across the Nation respect and honor the lives of those firemen. I live in Arizona and appreciate what others are doing for the friends and families of those young men.

  11. My heart feels for those brave men’s families…They like our Military, EMT’s and Police are truly heroes as they do a job most wouldn’t… I never truly understood how they could do that(rush into a fire or into something that has such high risk) till I saw my dad in action a few years ago.

    My dad was SF in the Army for 20 years and for the last 16 years he has been a Fireman/EMT for my hometown in Northern Wisconsin…Big Fires are few and far between but when i was home visiting we were coming home from a Family Reunion and came across the start of a barn fire…

    My dad pulled his truck over( I was in car behind him), He told me to pop trunk (my mom’s medical gear was in the car i was driving)… Told me to call dispatch, get as many firetrucks they could get cause this was going to be a big one, He said you know what to do… don’t think just do..

    Growing up in a Military household, then in high school having a Firefighter/EMT for parents I was used to having alarms go off and them having to go(quick I love you that was it) but i never saw what they did till that day…

    My Dad took gear from his truck, yelling questions at the owner as he went (she told him there were two people still in there) as he was suiting up… Then I saw the Man I have called dad since i was 3 who i respect and love rush into a burning barn to get two men out.

    Hardest part was being calm and relaying the info to the dispatcher…Telling her my dad was on scene his call number and staying on the phone when all the crazy stuff was happening…. Then I saw my dad…

    I remember telling the dispatcher… He’s out he’s got em… My dad got them… She said Thats great…Jeannie give me Dave(dad)..

    At the same time my Dad yelled at me to bring the extra O2,med kit and hand him the phone. I already had the gear out and waiting and i can’t tell you how hot that fire was… I was a good 500 feet from it and when i ran to give my dad the kits and the phone and my arms and legs got heat burn through my clothes and the heat from the fire nearly knocked me to my knees.

    within 30 minutes there were 5 different fire stations (from neigboring townships and counties there… and the Barn was up totally engulfed… They were just making sure it didn’t spread to the house or fields.

    My dad saved those men and they(the men) saved all the cows but two.

    I grew up with fire calls, emt runs…Always knew my dad was hero from serving in the Army but seeing him as a hero for Firefighting was something else.

    I have high respect for those who fight what most fear… I pray that those who died always be remembered for heroes they are.

  12. Fire fighters are a special breed of men and Smoke Jumpers are even more special I feel for those families everyday. I am looking forward to this book so much to read all the stories.

  13. My heart goes out to their family and friends and I feel so bad for them. they are hero’s and will be missed! I’d love to win this giveaway!

  14. I live in Buckeye, Az. and it was a terrible thing to have happened to such couragious firemen. My heart went out to all the families who lost a husband, father and son. The mothers who have to put on a brave front for their children. Thank you for having this contest in their honor.

  15. My thoughts and prayers are with firefighters and their families. They do the tough jobs to protect the rest of us. Thank you.

  16. We also owe a word of thanks to the brave pilots who not only airlift the jumpers to their assignments, but who drop water and retardant to defend areas too dangerous for ground crews. The aerial fight against the Chariot Fire in the mountains east of San Diego, CA this week involved 8 helicopters and 4 tankers, including a privately converted DC-10. Their operational base at Ramona, CA is on the list to lose its control tower. The tower was opened after a air tanker and spotter plane had a mid air collision back in the 1990’s.
    One of the places lost in the Chariot fire was a camp run by the Shriners. In an eerie note, one of the few spots there to come through unscathed was a makeshift memorial to the AZ firefighters.

  17. My daughter moved to Prescott, AZ mid-June. By virtue of her now calling Arizona home, these men became part of my family and I mourn for them. Thank you for recognizing the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

  18. God bless the firefighters who lost their lives, God bless their families in this heartbreaking time. I have no words to express my gratitude and saddness at what has happened.

    Thanks for the wonderful giveaway – I would love to win…fingers and toes crossed.

  19. Sending out much love and respect to the men that lost their lives and the families that must go on without them. Brave men such as these are the reason our country is so great. They volunteered to do this, knowing what the outcome may be. They lived to save the forests and the lives of those people that lived near them. They gave of themselves so that we could have a safe and beautiful place to live. They will live on in the hearts of millions, because of their brave and courageous acts of selflessness, and because these men are truly what love and devotion for your fellow man/woman are all about! R.I.P.

  20. Thank you so much for sharing this. I look forward to reading the book as well as all the goodies in your prize pack? 😉 Thank you!

  21. My heart goes out to all affected by this terrible loss,
    especially all the families. I’m keeping all of them in
    prayer, as well as all first responders.

    Pat C.

  22. My heart and prayers are with the families of our heroes.

    Sounds like a hot and steamy read and I am looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the giveaway.

  23. Firefighters give their lives to protect people thst they don’t even know. Nobody greater. I would love to win this prize pack.

  24. The military, law enforcement and firefighters all serve and protect us. I respect and appreciate the sacrifices they make to keep us safe. My prayers and healing energy is sent to the family and friends and the town of Yarnell for their loss.

  25. It never fails to amaze me the generosity of spirit and goodness abundant in the world if I simply remember to look. Yes, there’s evil, but I refuse to focus and dwell on it–I choose to light a candle (an electric candle since our woods are dry as tinder) not curse the darkness.

    Thank you for dedicating this blog to the Granite Mountain Hotshots–they will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with them and all the dedicated men and women who put their lives on the line so that we are safe.

    I look forward to reading Smokin’ Hot Firemen.

  26. Being the mom of an Army soldier I know the fear of families who have loved ones in dangerous jobs. I can’t imagine the devastation the familes are feeling. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of them!

  27. Was a sad day when I heard that on the news. My heart, thoughts & prayers are still with the families & brotherhood. Such a tragic loss of heroes.

  28. This was truly a great tragedy losing so many firemen at one time. They are brave men to fight wildfires and fires as they do.
    I’d love to read your book it sounds really good. Thanks for the giveaway.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  29. I have a healthy respect for all firefighters, but the smoke jumper are a class of their own. To do what they do takes more than just courage. RIP to the ones we lost.

  30. It was very nice of you to post a tribute to the Hot Shots team. I can’t imagine what they went through and my heart breaks for them and their families. The men were very brave. It’s such a tragedy.

  31. Fantastic tribute, I thought your story captured the elements of danger in these heroes’ lives perfectly. I also salute all of these brave souls and mourn for their loss. Thanks for the giveaway and good luck with the release!

    1. Thanks Elf! We’re so happy you enjoyed the stories. I can only imagine the adrenaline rush of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane into a raging forest fire. These brave men have so much courage!

  32. What a brave and dedicated group they were – such a loss to their families and communities. I’ve read several stories about smoke jumpers – what guts it takes to do that job!

  33. I work in the news business, so I can be a little jaded at times. When I heard about the 19 hotshots killed, though, it broke my heart.

    On a more pleasant note – I love the cover photo of the firefighter with the kitten. Did you see the story out of Fresno last week about the firefighter who found the kitten and saved its life. That’s the kind of story I love!

  34. Wow … I never knew such a job existed … those who are smoke jumpers are very brave and I would love to read your story able a smoke jumper.

  35. Such a heartbreaking loss, Elle–and such a reminder that so many dedicated men and women serve daily, knowing that such a risk is just part of their jobs. I’m so grateful for them all. And thank you for the fabulous excerpt! Looking forward to enjoying your story!

  36. My heart breaks looking at these amazing Heroes. I can’t imagine what fear they may have had at that last moment. My prayers go out to their loved ones. Thank you for dedicating this to them.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  37. What a tremendous loss. I cannot imagine having the courage to do what they did on a regular basis. My thoughts and prayers go out for their families.

  38. What a wonderful and thoughtful post, Elle. KUDOS!
    I can’t wait to read the antho. I enjoy reading books about Firemen. Love the cover.

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