Controlling Chaos

How fighting a wildfire can put you in the driver’s seat of your own life

Photo by Ryan Heffernan

Photo by Ryan Heffernan


“In those moments, I felt like I was at the center of the world … and there was nothing else that mattered.”

— Alex Jablonski


This episode is about control.

On a very concrete level, it’s about control of wildfires.

But on a deeper level, we’re exploring how people can take control of their lives — whether that’s navigating the shift from childhood to adulthood, or figuring out how to get your life back on track after you’ve traveled to very dark places.

My guests are Alex Jablonski and Kahlil Hudson, the producers of a film called Wildland. The film follows a fire crew in Oregon over the course of one summer.

On this episode, I talk with them about the deeply personal forces that draw people to wildland firefighting; about the unparalleled mental highs that come with the job; and about the surprising bonds that form between people who seem to have nothing in common.

And finally, we discuss how controlling nature can help you gain control over your own life, too.


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