Hot Shot crews can take the heat

Crews use safety measures before they hit the fire

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - These hot shot crews fight the fire from the ground, the name was in reference to being in the hottest part of fires.

"It's a job that truly gets into your blood, it's not for everybody, but the guys who work here, they enjoy it," said Jimmie Rocha of the Rio Bravo Hot Shots. "it's something they will remember the rest of their lives."

The Rio Bravo Hot Shots is one of three local government crews that are recognized nationally that can be called upon at a moments notice to fight wild land fires anywhere in the country.

"We are an inter agency hot shot crew, so we are a national resource," said A.J. Tevis of the Rio Bravo Hot Shots. "We can go coast-to-coast, north, south, Washington, Oregon, Utah, the southwest, anywhere there are fires and they need a type one crew."

Their crew of 18 to 22 members goes through 80 hours of extensive training at the beginning of each season.

"It is rewarding, it pays off, all the training we go through," said Tevis. "When we first come on, there is a two week critical training, things like that." 

Now it's a job this crew does nine months out of the year and they all know it comes with its sacrifices, not only from time away from their family, but the dangers this job can bring.

"When you come across the tragedy like what happened in Arizona, it really hits home," said David Derr of the Rio Bravo Hot Shots. "Reality check, that we are all doing the same job and the potential is out there."

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