Hometown: Sierra Vista, AZ
Previous specialty: Forest Service Hotshot
Current specialty: Engineer, Tucson AZ
Motto to live by: “I give thanks to Jesus and to my family for their support. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Reflection on the job:
I used to play firefighters with my brother as kids. We even caught our fort on fire once so we could put it out. Needless to say, a career in this interested both of us.
When I was in college, I went on a snowboarding trip and loved it. One day, I was trying to figure out how I could make more money so I could snowboard more. My brother had just started reserving for a rural department outside of Tucson, and he suggested I try working for the Forest Service. He told me he met these guys called “hotshots” on a wildland engine assignment. They work only six months during the fire season, but they make enough to live on for the entire year.
Sounded perfect to me, I thought. I’ll hotshot in the summer and snowboard in the winter.
Next spring I interviewed for a position on Payson Interagency Hotshot crew out of the Tonto National Forest.
After just one season I was hooked.
I went on to be a rappeller on a helitack crew. Attacking fires here in the southwest. Rappelling fires up in the wilderness of the North Cascade Mountains in Washington. Now I get to drive a fire truck with lights and sirens down the road to emergencies. Every day, you never know what you’re going to get into.
Friends ask me how I like my job.
“My job?” I ask. “For what they let me do, this is no job. It’s a paid adventure.”