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The Mile High City is not one of the first to come to mind among those in the fire service. Denver is not one of the “Great” cities; New York, Chicago, San Francisco. Not among those currently seeing high fire duty like Detroit or New Orleans. It sits humble in the shadows of the Rockies, between the two coasts with few if any appearances on the covers of National professional journals.

Don’t be fooled by the lack of exposure, there is a great fire service culture living and breathing in the thin Colorado air. Fortunately for us it grows stronger and is recorded daily with the work and through the lens of fire photographer Eric Hurst.   

“Buffing” is not common to the Mountain West however Eric Hurst has combined his passion for photography with his profession in Fire Department Communications to grow a network of buffs in the Denver Metro. In 2008 Hurst created to establish a “Modern Tradition” of fire buffing in the area. A high-rise incident in Downtown Denver to an interface fire in the suburban foothills, the wide range of work keeps Eric and his next generation of buffs both busy and motivated.

Hurst’s website is true to the values of the Buff; reporting local fire activity and recording action with photography that captures firefighters in action as they see it with their own eyes.

 “True Buffs understand and respect the culture of the fire service. Never too close and never far from the action, unobtrusively standing with cameras in hand”

“Historically the Buff / Firefighter relationship has always been a positive one; the Buffs happy to be in the smoke and Firefighters eager to see photos of themselves working”

The take up and time on the tail board is just as much our memory of fires as forcing the door or making the push down the hall. Being of the fire service Eric knows this well. He covers scenes from the start to the true finish, catching the smoke and the smiles in a job done.  

Eric’s approach to being a buff is what I have come to appreciate the most. He wears the label proudly in a part of the country where it is somewhat foreign. He also takes to his work with great intensity and ingenuity, finding opportunity in technology and trends.

To cover the 5 county metro area, Hurst contacts the nearest 5280 fire photographer when an incident is dispatched, getting them to the scene with the first arriving rigs. Twitter feeds notify followers when they can log on to the website and watch streaming video.

 Even his gear is experimental; a Go Pro Hero HD digital video camera mounted to the lens body of his Cannon 7D. He records live footage without pause while setting up the perfect stills.

“Video provides a great training tool and is currently in the highest demand but video will not be framed and hung on a wall for years. The still is my priority and I won’t compromise catching that career shot for a few minutes of video.”

In regards to the Colorado firefighters which are Eric’s cause; he offers this -

“Often mistaken as superheroes, these humans are faced with tragedy and sadness on a regular basis. While their emotions are shed in the name of duty, they can sometimes be seen and captured in just the right light.”

Eric Hurst Photograph and on Face Book at

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