Monday, December 15, 2008


By Guy McCarthy

DEL ROSA - Beneath a blanket of drifting fog and low-lying cloud at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains, three firefighters took advantage of stormy weather today to burn a pile of brush at their base in north Del Rosa.

"Nobody's noticed so far," said Jack Masters, a member of the U.S. Forest Service Del Rosa Hotshots. "It's a good day to do this."

To fuel the fire in damp and drizzly conditions, USFS Firefighter Eddie Apodaca had a gas-powered leaf blower strapped to his back and used throttle-controlled wind to stoke embers in the pile to flames.

The high-powered bellows worked as well as a blow-torch.

Masters and Augustin Flores, another member of the local Hotshots, used shovels to help keep the pile burning.

Flores, 22, grew up in Lincoln Heights, East Los Angeles. Masters, 28, grew up in Redlands, San Bernardino and Fontana. Apodaca, 31, grew up in Tustin.

Each of them has seen enough wildfire in recent years. Today was a decent day for a controlled burn.


Photos by Guy McCarthy

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