Mario Villalobos

“I'll hold your hose for you.”

There’s a yellow pack the veterans make most rookies wear that’s colloquially known as a piss pump. It’s a backpack that’s filled up with about 5-8 gallons of water that’s worn over the regular pack everyone must carry. Connected to it was a long nozzle that, when pumped, sprayed water. The pressure wasn’t great, but it did enough to cool some areas down. Other times we made the rookies carry hoses and fittings and other gear that added extra weight to their pack and thus made the day a bit longer. I was a rookie once, and I went through this. It was fun.

Most of the time we loaded the gear onto the massive dozers that sometimes patrolled the fire with us. They had longer and more powerful hoses and a massive tank full of water. They were also loud and they made quick work of anything in their way. Firefighting didn’t scare me but the thought of driving one of these machines did. It only made sense that the drivers who drove them were crazy.

I guess you have to be a bit crazy to intentionally run toward a fire instead of away from it, though.

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