Noah Berger admits a fire photography addiction. “I got hooked on the experience of being out here,” he says. “It strips off the mundane layers of life.” When wildfires erupt, Berger disappears for weeks at a time, breathing the smoke, living on the firelines. Berger’s fire photographs earned him a 2019 Pulitzer Prize nomination.
“I have full Nomex, goggles, gloves, and hardhat, of course. I added a pair of really good scanners last year.” He installed a carbon monoxide detector in his Nissan Xterra. A state-of-the-art emergency fire shelter occupies the back seat. In the fire zone, Berger never turns the vehicle off. There might not be enough oxygen to start it again. “Good wildfire fighters really have a passion for wildfire. And if you’re photographing wildfire, you have to have the same thing.”
The San Francisco-based photographer works for national and international news outlets including the Associated Press, Reuters, San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times.