In the very first episode of Breaking Bad (S1E1 Pilot), Walt and Jesse drive the RV out into the middle of nowhere, New Mexico. They are many miles from civilization. The closest sign of human life is a small farm two miles away.

During the events of the episode, there are gunshots and a brush fire near the RV. Soon after, we hear sirens in the distance (this is actually where the episode begins, three weeks later).

This was a remote location and there was a very short time between smoke and gunshots being discernible and the sirens being heard. How did emergency vehicles show up so quickly?

Even if someone at the distant farm saw smoke and called 911, how could anyone respond so quickly? Was this some kind of setup by the bad guys in the episode?

  • Maybe they were doing training or a planned burn-off nearby. Either that or it was a plot hole that we were not supposed to notice. ;) Mar 9, 2017 at 0:14

1 Answer 1


The emergency vehicles were not there to attend to reports of gunshots. They were there for the fire (much to Walter's relief).

I suspect that the reason they responded and did so quickly was that there was some sort of watch for smoke in a district prone to fire. It is likely that, in a parched, flat area where fires tend to break out, there is a standing watch for smoke. And, since the area is flat, the smoke is easy to spot.

Maybe they were still fast but they clearly were unconcerned with Walter so were not either set up by the drug dealers or in search of other suspicions characters. This leaves us with them having spotted the smoke.

  • I hadn't thought of this myself in the context of the show, but it's a very good point. Wildfires in the brush could get out of hand quickly if no one is watching for the signs, and then it could turn toward populated areas and be too large to contain by the time anyone notices. So it does make sense that someone would be watching for that, and that they would be ready to respond.
    – Steve-O
    Mar 9, 2017 at 0:39
  • I found this article: SoCal firefighters increase patrols amid red flag warning. This corroborate the idea of "pre-deploying" fire trucks and patrolling high-risk areas. I still have no idea if this was the case in the context of the show, but it is a plausible explanation where we are unlikely to receive an official explanation.
    – user9311
    Mar 9, 2017 at 18:49

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