To be a smokejumper -- the front-line firefighters who parachute into forest fires -- in the US, you've already got to be a little unhinged. To do the same job in Russia, with antique equipment, for no pay, you must be certifiably insane.
The National Geographic has an in-depth feature following a band of Russian firefighters through their work, and the differences compared to US teams are stark. Equipment is said to be incredibly simple -- hand-made shovels, beating down fires with boughs, and burying it in sand is a far cry from an airliner dropping thousands of kilograms of retardant. It's definitely worth the read. [National Geographic
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