Mario Villalobos


Back at It

I’m getting the hang of being squad boss. It’s getting easier to delegate my tasks to other people and the extra responsibility is very welcome and nourishing, in a way. For some reason, I became the weather man last week, so I became the weather man again today. Every hour I had to take the weather. It’s kind of nice because I don’t have to work that hard all the time, which feels good. And I like that extra responsibility.

Right now I’m in my car ready to fall asleep, so good night!

Break Time

I get to fight fires for one more week before my season ends.

I went back to work today to finish up a few things to make things easier for our staff this week since I’m not coming back to work this week. It wasn’t that much, but I got it done, and it should be easier for them while I’m gone. I talked to both the Principal and the Superintendent about taking this next week off, and after some head shaking and finger wagging, they allowed me to fight fires for one more week. I’m glad, too, because I really want to go back there with my crew and fight all these fires. It’s so much fun.

I’m still writing this in Day One because I really like to. Yeah, this whole blog idea, although a good idea at the time, was not really a good idea in the vast scheme of things. I’m drunk right now, and I drove home drunk, and that wasn’t a good idea. I made it home safely, but I’m exhausted and tired and all I want to do is go to bed.

I’m going to bed.

I go back to work tomorrow at 6 AM. More fires to fight. Wish me luck.

Back Home

We made it to day 13, and now we’re heading home to take one day of R&R, and we’ll be back at it on Tuesday. I’m going to push it a bit by going on this fire instead of back to work, so we’ll see what happens. I’m going to e-mail my bosses tomorrow to let them know, and I hope they understand. I hope they understand.

What a fun time I’m having. I wish I could explain how much fun I’m having. Fighting fires, sure, it’s dangerous sometimes and fucking exhausting, but if you have a great crew, then there’s nothing else like it in the world.

Even though I’m back home and I could write more, I’m not. I’m still fucking tired and after sleeping in my car for the past 4 days or so, my body is telling me that my bed is the most comfortable thing ever and all it wants to do is sleep. So sleep I will.

Tomorrow I’ll be tossing all my expired food and doing laundry. Good night.

Time for Break

My feet hurt too damn right now. God damn is the slope of this fucking mountain steep. We had to go up and down, up and down, all over the mountain, and by the time we had to go home, I was ready to give up and collapse.

It was a good day, though. We lined close to 80% of the fire, and we did a burn out near our anchor point, which helped us out a lot. I think tomorrow will be a better day. I hope so.

Red Flag Warning

What a fucking day.

I fought two fires today, and I wish I could stop it there and have you all know exactly what happened during them, but that’s impossible without writing it all down.

We began with the same fire we went to yesterday, the Dayton Creek fire off the Rez. This fire was pretty much out, so my squad simply gridded up from the road, found and stomped out like 4-5 hot spots, reached the top, gridded along that line until we hit the top east corner, and we went and took a break. This is when shit began to hit the fan.

We had a Red Flag Warning in effect for today, and boy did the weathermen get it right today. A storm cell rolled into our fire with thunder and lightning lighting up the sky. Our entire crew was called off the mountain. I led my squad down and to safety. On our way down, we started to get reports that the storm was lighting up the Rez with fire after fire after fire. We rolled on the bus and headed our way back home.

Three starts started around Sloan’s bridge, and that’s where we headed out to. It was hot when we got to the staging area, but just as quickly, it got cold. We could hear over the radio that the faster storm many weather guys have ever seen was rolling through over us, and sure enough, they were right again. The storm lit up the sky and our fires. It was beautiful.

Once the storm passed, we shuttled our crew back up toward the fire. My squad boss trainer had to be a sawyer because he was our only qualified sawyer, so I had to step in and become the leader of our squad. We hot lined this reported 29 acre fire like a bunch of bad ass mother fuckers. It was hot up in there. Really fucking hot up in there. But we completed our objective, got off the hill safely, and are heading back home now.

I’m having the time of my life now, and I don’t want it to end.

Making Those Dolla Dolla Bills, Y'all

What a god damn fucking hot day.

One of our crew members went down with heat exhaustion today, so I made sure to give my squad members enough breaks to rest up and water up, and they all performed wonderfully. It was hot, you guys, and we were mopping up very hot areas with very little shade. We did, however, complete our objectives and will earn our rest tonight.

I’m on the bus ride home now. The crew purchased about 5 pizzas from Pizza Hut, which they gave me cash for so I’ll be paying it on my credit card. We all deserve this. I want this. It’s been a long but amazing past ten days, and we’re all exhausted. I’m exhausted. I’m getting better being squad boss, making today go much smoother and easier stress-wise. There’s still a lot I have to learn and be cognizant of, but I know that stuff comes with time and more experience.

I’m having the time of my life, and I know I’m going to miss it tremendously because this will be my last fire of the season. I have to get back to work next week.

Sleeping in My Car

What a long day. It’s 10:27 PM, and I’m still at it. Turns out, I’ve a lot to learn as squad boss. I didn’t take the initiative when I should have, and I instead did what I usually do, which is work on the fire. I needed to look at the big picture, though, which I didn’t do, unfortunately. Maybe tomorrow.

Popped My Cherry

I took my first squad out today.

This fire has been one of the best ones I’ve ever been on. And by fire, I don’t mean like any particular fire, but the entirety of the time I’ve been out. I left last Tuesday, and here we are again on a Tuesday and three fires later. We went from the Couture Fire in Arlee to the Elk Fire in the Bison Range, back to the Couture Fire for a few more days, and now we fought the Garceau Fire in Polson. It looks like we can milk this fire for a few more days, which is awesome because I’m finally making Squad Boss wages, which is $2 more an hour than what I was making. I’m so happy.

I was really nervous today. It was all on me now, and I really let that get to my head, but after a bit of working the fire and getting back into the groove of things, things settled down and it was really fun being a boss again. I was a boss in McDonald’s, and now I’m back at it. A lot of those lessons still apply. It’s great.

But yeah… It’s late and we have to wake up early. Good night y’all.


I’m home.

We finished containing the Couture Fire today. Actually, we contained this fire on Thursday and have been milking this fire since then. We got off the hill early and waited at the staging area for hours. Half our crew watched Portlandia skits on YouTube. That was fun. It wasn’t until we drove back to the Division of Fire that shit went down.

While we waited to be demobilized, a thunderstorm rolled into with winds of over 40 MPH. We listened intently on the radio as report after report of lightning strikes hit the Rez all over the place. Instead of going home for good, we’re coming back tomorrow at 6 AM to see what fire we’ll be going to. So I’m at home and ready to go to bed. I’m actually in bed as I write this on my iPhone. Since I’m still firefighting, I’m going to post all of these once I’m officially off.

This is going to be fun.


We did a whole lot of nothing today. We were supposed to grid the same area we did yesterday, and we did for a little bit, but then we took a break, which turned into a lunch break, which turned into a get off the mountain break because a thunderstorm rolled in above us and it was too dangerous for us to work. The whole fire there has been a downed power line right smack in the middle of the fire, and the power company has done nothing about it. Over the past week, the power pole holding the last piece of the line up is falling forward, and one bad fall could ignite that line and potentially spark a new fire.

But it looks like tomorrow will be our final day on this fire, unless something sparks tonight. There’s supposed to be high lightning activity tonight, so we’ll see. Another short entry but I am tired and it is late. Only 29 more days to go.

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