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Firefighter's Words- Joining the Forest Service

I’ll just give you a short story about how I decided to become an employee of the Forest Service…..It was in the firestorms of 2003 here is southern California.

It was my first year as a volunteer. I was with my partner Kathy Barnes, we had gone up to Lytle Creek where the fires at that point was raging to help get the residents who were refusing to leave.

On our way back out of the creek the fire shifted and began to chase us out of the creek….I had never experienced fire that way and I was very scared. Now my partner on the other hand, had……she had worked for the Forest Service for 11yrs at that point.

Anyways I kept yelling at her telling her that she needed to go faster that the fire was catching up to us, or at least it looked and sounded like it was. She knew we would make it out safely.

I have never heard anything sound like a freight train other than a freight train before but on that day it was the firestorm that was chasing us that I was hearing. On that day I learned a whole new respect for fire and our firefighters and the job that they have fighting those fires. My passion was fueled on that day for the profession that I have chosen.

I am a Forest Ranger today a paid employee as of 2004, but we lost my partner Kathleen Barnes (8/3/65 – 12/17/07) to cancer. R.I.P. Kathy she will be missed dearly, but she shared her passion for the job with me and I have tried to do the same with others as well.