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Nick

Male | 20s | Under 3 minutes
Starts on page 12

EXTRACT: I thought that fighting a real fire for the first time would feel … natural – like I was born to do it, like it would be this … fluid instinctive sort of action. But it wasn’t. It was…deliberate, and clunky and awkward. My head had to work overtime, thinking about every move, every decision. I lost track of how many times I just stood there for a moment…. feeling like nothing I was doing was making any difference. The fire was too big, too hot, too angry.


Sally

Female | 20s | 3 to 5 minutes
Starts on page 13

EXTRACT: I grabbed my beanie and my mask and went outside, circling around the house. Hose in one hand and buckets and buckets upended. I kept having to douse my beanie in water to put out embers that were falling on my head. They came from everywhere. Some would glow for a second and then die, and others would ignite. There were fires popping up everywhere. That was the next hour, at least.The heat was unbearable. Every now and then I would upend one of the buckets on my head, or gulp down the water, ash and all.