Photo Gallery

NPS photos tell the structural fire story in the national parks and give us an opportunity to see how they protect and preserve the history and culture of our nation’s treasures.

Then and Now

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Then: One of many small visitor bungaloes referred to as “Dallas Huts”, were actually transported from the Rio Grande River banks up to the “Bone Yard” in Big Bend National Park; where they were prepared for interior fire attack evolutions. This shot shows Galen coaching an attack crew making entry.

Now: The national structural fire training academy at Page, Arizona is a fairly new addition to the National Park Service Structural Fire Program. This training site is a cooperative effort between NPS and Page Fire Department.


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Then: Big Bend National Park’s primary structure fire engine in the early 1980s, during a training exercise. Galen can be seen at the rear removing his SCBA. This engine was acquired from the U.S. Navy sometime in the 1970s. It had served on an aircraft carrier. It was retired from NPS service in 2010 and is currently on loan to the Terlingua Volunteer Fire District (TVFD), at the north side of Big Bend National Park. Under TVFD Chief Greg Hennington, the engine has undergone extensive renovation, been totally re-equipped and has served their community well. The engine is on call for Big Bend and is frequently requested for mutual aid to the park. The Terlingua Fire District regularly trains with the Big Bend Fire Department.

Now: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area(GLCA) Firefighter Academy held in Spring 2012 - GLCA Emergency Service Manager Kean Mihata supporting the class by filling in as a driver/operator as well as many other logistical tasks.


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Then: Class photo of a Level 2 (live fire) class at Everglades National Park in the late 1980s at Pine Island Ranger District after interior fire attack evolutions in a single story wood frame residential structure. Tony Bacon recalls that the temperature was in the 90s and so was the relative humidity! District ranger, Ben Morgan, is in second row, far right, with the green ball cap.

Now: Spring 2012 Firefighter Academy graduating class.


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Then: Pit fire drill. Galen with the red helmet, coached the attack crew on nozzle technique. These were common live fire exercises that instilled a high order of disciplne, crew cohesion and the methods and techniques of AFFF foam application. This prop is no longer utilized, as the clean-up was extensive and criticism of the inordinate volumes of black, acrid smoke and toxic gases released were objectionable.

Now: Training on a propane tree fire nicknamed by students as the “fire breathing dragon”.


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Then: A squad practicing “make & break” hose line deployment exercise at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the early 1980s.

Now: Student firefighters in 2010 geared up in current protective equipment (PPE) and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBAs).


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Then: Pit fire exercise. This is a safety crew, standing by to assist with displacement of thermal intensity , should the attack crew be confronted with a wind shift. This was possibly at Guadalupe Mountains National Park they typically burned at night to reduce impacts to park visitors. These were challenging scenarios as the pit was typically 45 feet by 35 feet and filled with 3000 – 4000 gallons of water and 500 – 600 gallons diesel fuel, crank case oil, gasoline, etc. discharged on the water. Engagement required tenacity, coordination under duress and discipline.

Now: Live fire instructor Mark Gorman safely guiding students through a training exercise.


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Then: Dallas Hut interior attack evolution. This was taken in the mop up phase. Tony Bacon is standing by the door in the black coat.

Now: Spring 2012 student firefighters training to suppress vehicle fires.


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Then: Tony Bacon (left) and Galen Warren (right) at Big Bend National Park in December 1979 for the first Firefighter II class.

Now: May 2013, Tony Bacon (left) and Galen Warren (right) at the National Interagency Fire Center to contribute to an oral history of the early days of the National Park Service Structural Fire Program. Learn more about the history and reminisces of Tony and Galen in the story – “Double Doughnuts and Gatorade”… A story of two National Park Service Structural Fire Icons.