Twenty-four firefighters died battling wildfires last year, continuing a rising trend of deaths battling wildland blazes.
Experts are warning that the size and intensity of wildfires is increasing due to longer, hotter, drier summers and a growing number of homes that crews try to defend out in the wilderness.
Firefighters are increasing being sent to protect what are called "Wildland-Urban Interface" areas -- places across the West where developers have built homes in forest lands outside of urban areas.
Kent Maxwell, a founder of the Colorado Fire Camp in Salida, Colorado, says another problem facing firefighters is the continued demands on fire crews.
He says too much responsibility for safety is heaped on the front line firefighter, and not enough on national wildfire policy managers.