Mario Villalobos


Well, I’m home.

We didn’t demobilize or anything. We were just given the opportunity to go home at night and come back in the morning, which is an idea I’m in love with. Today was good up until the end, when communications got tangled and one set of orders were given with one squad and another set with another squad. I was given an order to take my squad to the south western edge of the fire and watch the green for any possible spot fires. I did that. I bumped into the crew that was already there, a crew from Illinois, and their crew boss briefed me on what they were seeing and possible outcomes.

Down toward the bottom of our hill, a few people had been using drip torches to try and burn out all the green in the interior, since we’ve had no good black on this fire so far. Toward the end of our shift, the winds started blowing uphill, which concerned the Illinois crew boss. I listened, and I spread out my squad in that troubled area. I was told my whole crew was coming up with us so we wouldn’t have to be so extended. I waited 45 minutes or so and nobody showed up. Our crew boss trainee, a guy I like, was about a mile north of us, waiting for us to tie in with him. So when we waited, he waited, too. I called him on the radio, and he told me to come over to him. My area was still a question mark, but I ran into the division boss and he told me everything looked clear and we were good to go. We did. Our crew boss trainee told us to grid the green on our way back to him, which made no sense because we had already done that hours before and there was no active fire behavior in our area. Begrudgingly, we did.

It all pissed me off. I’m still a trainee but I’ve had zero trainers in my squad. I’m not 100% sure what I’m doing. I’m learning, for sure, learning really fast, but damn, this whole fire has been a clusterfuck.