Centennial yearbook student on-site for Carpenter I Fire media tour

Tyler Hennis, Centennial HS

This is the first student article written for the SNSJ website. Each article will focus on student insight related to scholastic journalism.

Photo Credit: Tyler Hennis
Firefighters fought the Carpenter 1 fire through numerous methods, including controlled burns like the one seen here aimed at cutting the fire off from housing divisions on Mt. Charleston.
Photo Credit: Tyler Hennis

This last summer, I was given the opportunity to photograph the Carpenter I Fire on Mt. Charleston. My high school adviser and I went up to Mt. Charleston as part of the media crew, because our high school hosted the campsite for the firefighters and other personnel.

I went up to Centennial and met my teacher, Ms. Casandra Workman, along with a bunch of news crews (both TV and print). We received fire gear supplied by the fire team: a pair of long green pants, yellow long sleeve shirt and a hard hat for protection on the mountain.

We departed the school in six vehicles for Mt. Charleston; on the long journey up there, with many stops for police road blocks, we finally reached our destination and got out of the car and started walking. Instantly, I was overtaken by the smell of campfire. We didn’t have to walk too far to get to where we were going; we got to see “hotshot” firefighters, which are like the elite firefighters. We stopped at Cathedral Rock campsite near the parking lot/rest area. We were looking up the mountain and could see dark smoke from fires, but no actual open flames. We then headed to the Rainbow division and “back burn” area, where the fire crews set controlled burns to starve the fire and prevent it from reaching the houses. When we got there, a fire crew was about to put out part of the remaining flames from the back burn. The firefighters I saw and photographed later appeared in video on the news.

After everyone got enough film, we started to head back, but in a bit of a hurry. We had heard the fire was close to the road, and the media tour was about 10 minutes from getting stuck on the mountain. The fire almost crossed over, and it was literally a race down the mountain. We could see the sky covered with smoke and the windshield had little bits of ash on it. We beat the fire and safely got off the mountain with our many police escorts. Later that day, the fire jumped the road, and it was the first day any buildings were destroyed in the fire.

The trip up to Mt. Charleston Carpenter l fire is one of the most amazing experiences of my life and a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Tyler Hennis

About Tyler Hennis

Tyler Hennis is a yearbook student at Centennial High School. He joined the staff last year as a freshman and is enjoying his time as a photographer. He won a "Superior" ranking in First-Year Photo category and is the Photoshop Editor for the Odyssey. Somehow, he manages to balance his editor position with playing JV football and baseball.