By Mia Penta
After his wedding was postponed, firefighting supervisor Brock Shero joked that he should just get married at his fire camp on the Colville Indian Reservation.
To Shero’s surprise, his fiancee liked the idea. The wedding was set for Saturday night, after Shero had spent the day on the line of the 3,000-acre Bailey Mountain fire, part of a complex of fires burning on the reservation in north central Washington.
"It’s perfect for him to be married at a fire camp," the bride, Denise Emery, said in a telephone interview Saturday from Omak, the site of the camp. "If he could have it his way, he’d probably have the fire in the background."
Emery, 38, a bartender in Mossyrock, located about 100 miles south of Everett, was wearing a wedding gown. But the groom, 50, also of Mossyrock, chose the less-than-traditional green fire pants, boots and suspenders.
"Just like I came off the line, but they will be clean," Shero said.
Yellow and green decorations and flowers were chosen to coordinate with his gear.
"This is not going to be a tuxedo event, at all," Rick Kuykendall, fire spokesman with Department of Natural Resources, said with a laugh.
He works with Shero, a state lands forester with the agency who was division supervisor on the fire.
Shero has been fighting fires for 35 years.
"I’ve been doing it for a long time and I really enjoy the camaraderie, the challenge and the dirt and smoke that go with it," he said.
Others on the crew chipped in for the expenses and worked to decorate the picnic shelter where the wedding was taking place. All 450 people in camp were invited.
"They opened a hat and all pitched in," Emery said. "They were doing extra work when they were getting off the line."
The couple, dating for seven years, had originally planned a small, pre-fire season wedding in Reno, Nev., on June 22.
It was canceled because of a death in Emery’s family, and Shero was called to the fires in Eastern Washington on July 9.
Emery said she had considered wearing Levi’s and cowboy boots, calling herself "a country bumpkin."
The wedding march was by country music star Garth Brooks, "Standing Outside the Fire."
Emery recalled the first time the two met eight years ago at a bar where she worked.
"I was complaining to a girlfriend about men in my life," she said.
Shero came up behind her and introduced himself. They became friends and started dating a year later.
Both say their schedules made it difficult to plan their wedding.
"We normally have a real rough time planning everything," Shero said. "Any time we have an opportunity, we make it work. You could call it spontaneity or you could call it necessity."
After the wedding, the two planned to drive back to Mossyrock. On Tuesday, Emery returns to work and Shero will be back on call for fires.
The two planned a honeymoon in Hawaii for October — with luck, right after the fires subside.
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