Hinman Park Roll call begins at dawn for the men and women whose workplace lays somewhere in and around 36,000 acres north of Steamboat Springs.
Firefighters and their supervisors assigned to the two fires burning in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness area often rise an hour or more before sunrise. Cold mountain air and frost greet them as they emerge from one-man tents that dot the sagebrush-covered fields of the Hinman Campground.
More than 800 men and women follow the daily routine of waking early, eating early and heading out early to the fire from their base camp just off Seedhouse Road.
The sun rose at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Not long after rays peaked through the smoky haze, operations section chief Buck Silva took to the stage to account for all personnel assigned to the blaze.
From his viewpoint at the far end of the briefing tent, he eyed the rows of fire supervisors seated before him.
Dozens of men and women clad in hats, fleece, coats and heavy sweatshirts returned his gaze.
"Good morning," Silva announced.
A chorus of half-awake "good mornings" returned his greeting.
Pleasantries aside, Silva began to rattle off the names of hand crews, engine crews, dozer crews, emergency medical technicians and other fire officials assigned to different regions of the fire.
Outside the briefing tent, firefighters finished moving through the breakfast lines.
Crews take their place in line as early as 5 a.m. Propane heat tanks offer some welcome heat before they step inside the first of two tents on their way to one of three dining tents.
While they wait, firefighters catch up on the latest news by reading newspaper clippings posted on a large board. Tuesday's news included an article on Bob Dillon and a story about fire, of course.
Hot food is served in the first tent. The second tent offers cold cereal, muffins and juice and milk.
The firefighters eat in such staggered shifts that seats are always available in the makeshift chow halls.
While their crew leader received their orders in the briefing tent, a few members of the Florida State No. 12 crew huddled over remnants of their breakfast.
The men had been up since 5:30 a.m. That time was still later than normal.
"I slept in 10 minutes," firefighter Ryan Sapp said. The morning ritual of trading the warmth of a sleeping bag and cozy tent for the brisk outside air evokes some groans, especially from men and women accustomed to balmier climates.
"It's so cold," Sapp said.
The Florida State No. 12 crew pitched its tents around their state's flag.
The flag hung limp Tuesday in the still morning air, but it serves to unify the men.
The men have only worked together for a few days since being placed on the same crew to work on the Mount Zirkel Complex.
But they recognize the importance of sticking together.
The Florida firefighters encourage each other to stay hydrated while out on the lines, get enough rest and eat well. Should health problems knock too many of them out of commission, firefighter Dale Armstrong said, the entire crew would be sent home.
And none of the men wish for that outcome.
Supervisors urge firefighters to drink plenty of fluids and fill up on nutritious food. Crates of Gatorade and water bottles stand shoulder-high for men and women to grab before they head out to the fire. Bags of sunflower seeds, trail mix and peanuts and fresh fruit are generously offered to firefighters.
Crews must plan ahead in the morning to carry everything for the entire workday with them. Firefighters can easily carry more than 20 pounds to their worksite once water, snacks, a lunch and tools are in tow.
Crew leaders who report to the morning briefing share objectives for the day, safety precautions, and information about changing weather conditions and expected fire behavior with their crews.
Many of the men and women in charge of directing the firefighters' movements made short presentations during the Tuesday morning briefing.
Incident meteorologist Rob Krohn gave Tuesday's forecast, as well as an extended outlook, and explained how changing weather conditions could affect work on the fire.
Planning section chief John Swanson kept the meeting flowing by prefacing each speaker with an introduction.
Aaron Gelobter, incident commander for the Type I Incident Management Team in charge of the Mount Zirkel Complex, wrapped up the briefing with a note of caution. He reminded crew leaders to keep safety at the forefront of all decision making.
"A lot of good things went on yesterday," he said.
Crew leaders assigned to the same division consulted with each other before debriefing their individual crews. Eight divisions, ranging from two to eight crews of about 20 people, are attacking different sections of the blaze.
Crew leader Andy Bundshuh trekked across the field of sagebrush that divides the sleeping area from the camp's center of operations to reach his crew.
Bundshuh oversees a unique group of men. Seventeen of the 21 firefighters that serve on the Diablo Crew No. 3 call Mexico home. They are fighting fires in the United States this summer on visas from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The men come from one of three tiny villages along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Baldemar Marquez-Vasquez said he misses his family and looks forward to returning to his home in Santa Elena, a town of 240 people that lies along the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park.
Most of the crew's squad leaders speak both English and Spanish, so all of the firefighters are kept abreast of what to do and what to expect from the fire, Bundshuh said.
He anticipates the firefighters will return home sometime in September.
A large cardboard box with "Texas No. 5" printed in big black letters identifies the camping site of 19 men and women who arrived four days ago from the Battle Creek fire in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The crew hails from all over Texas and represents such organizations as the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Rosie Meeks is one of three women on the crew, but gender carries no weight with her or her fellow firefighters.
Everyone looks out for each other, she said.
Meeks does her fair share of looking out for the welfare of her crew. As a spotter, she monitors changing conditions that might pose a threat to the team's safety.
Randy Prewitt, crew leader for Texas No. 5, said the team is adjusting to the altitude of their newest assignment. Many of the firefighters assigned to the Mount Zirkel Complex live or previously worked on fires closer to sea level.
Prewitt said he doesn't mind if his crew catches a few more winks in the morning, so long as they don't miss their briefing and departure times.
"They need to be ready to go at 7 a.m.," he said.
The crew was assigned to work the southern edge of the Hinman fire Tuesday.
The stirring chords of a harmonica drifted over the small talk and hushed conversations of the Texas firefighters as they waited to board the bus that would drop them off at the end of Seedhouse Road.
D.W. Ivans carried along the tiny instrument to counter the long hours he spends on the fire lines.
"It helps to pass the time," he said.
Old country tunes and hymns make up some of Ivans' repertoire. One of his pieces was especially fitting as his coworkers mentally prepared themselves for another day of fighting the fire.
The hymn speaks of a longing for rest something that would have to wait until another day.
It was almost 8 a.m. and time for firefighters still left in the campground to take their place out on the fire lines.