This is the term used to refer to the elite firefighers who combat out of control wildland fires directly from the ground. Often they are the firefighers who are dropped via parachute in front of the fire. They are the best at what they do, and know it. Although their job is to put out fires, most love fire and are actually pyromaniacs (this is usually what draws most people to firefighting... as a real wildfire is infinitely better than lighting things on fire in the backyard). Many of them smoke because they inhale so much smoke from fires they often get lung cancer anyway. They have the riskiest job in firefighting, and one mistake can lead to rather unpleasant death. During the fire season of 2000, so many fires were burning simultaneously that they were stretched to the limits and often had to spend several days without sleep on the fireline (see taking a nap on the fireline)

Hot Shot crews usually consist of 20 firefighters. There is usually a designated superintendent, one or two crew leaders and several squad bosses. The rest of the crew consists of well trained, physically fit men and women who possess the mental toughness to do this type of job.

On a wildland fire the Hot Shot crews are referred to as type 1 crews and are assigned the toughest, most dangerous sections and tasks on the fire. These crews can dig fireline, clear helispots, and put out hotspots better than most less trained firefighting crews. Hot Shot crews have extreme pride in their abilities and a usually friendly rivalry exists between the crews.

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