The flying is difficult, but the rewards are many. “Last summer,” Pantusa continues, “we were dispatched to a fire near Roswell, New Mexico, that was primarily in flat terrain. It was late afternoon, and the fire was very active. The lead plane described our objective as ‘structure protection.’ The wind was strong enough that the smoke was blowing over the fire’s head. The air below the smoke column was very hazy and hot. The lead plane flew the run and communicated our route and hazards precisely. When we got on the live run, the smoke column was thick and just outside our right wing. We got on line, assured of the terrain, and commenced the drop. As we were dropping, it became clear that we were dropping along the back fence of a house. The owner was outside spraying his home with a garden hose.