As deadly wildfires are devastating California, "Only the Brave," a movie about the 19 hotshot firefighters who died battling the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona in 2013, hits theaters next Friday. I wrote about the movie in "Too Soon?" in the current issue of NFPA Journal.
For the article, I had a chance to speak with Brian Henington, a veteran wildland firefighter who was the safety advisor for the film. We had an interesting conversation about Hollywood's past failures depicting wildland firefighting (see the 1998 film "Firestorm" starring Howie Long—yes, that Howie Long), and how he thinks "Only the Brave" will turn that narrative on its head. "I'm hoping firefighters are going to see this and say, 'This is a very technically sound movie,'" he told me.
Despite Henington's excitement and the excitement of many others who have posted on social media about wanting to see this movie, its release just over three years after the tragedy begs the question: Is it too soon? EJ Montini, a writer for The Arizona Republic newspaper, certainly thinks so; he penned a column criticizing the movie's timing in July. Still, early reviews of the film have been very positive. A review by Wildfire Today's Bill Gabbert praised its authenticity. "'Only the Brave' is a powerful film that can be appreciated by the general public as well as firefighters," Gabbert writes.
So what do you think? Is it too soon for a film on the Yarnell Hill fire to be released? Answer using the poll options below, and tell us why you made your choice in the comments section.