Redding Hotshot Detail - Joseph Sharbaugh
2010 Redding IHC hiking up the line on the Caribou Complex in the Plumas National Forest (CA).
The Southeast Region Fire Program uses Hotshot Training crews to develop fire personnel. These training crews advance firefighter experience levels by providing intense and dynamic hot line exposure over a brief period. The Redding Interagency Hotshot crew is a concentrated fireline leadership development program. The structure of the Redding crew enables individual crewmembers to supervise a Type I hotshot crew in the role appropriate to their development (e.g. Squad Leader, Crew Boss, Task Force/ Strike Team Leader, or Type 4/5 Incident Commander). Southeast Region fire has sent two firefighters through the Redding program since 2007. These details have benefited the region as well as the Redding program.
While a member of the Redding Hotshot crew I was able broaden my fire knowledge and experience in many ways. The crew allowed me to work with a diverse group of firefighters from many different backgrounds and locations. Not only was I able to learn from veteran firefighters with a wealth of knowledge and experience, but I had an opportunity to lead younger crewmembers and impart some of my expertise. Being a fire line leader in an unfamiliar environment with a newly connected group of peers can be stressful, challenging, and rewarding. This detail took me to many different types of topography, fuels, and incidents throughout the western United States. I found myself working as a crew boss trainee, incident commander type 4 trainee, firing boss, sawyer, and firefighter type 1 in a variety of fire situations. Having a changing role on the crew kept me on my toes and never allowed me to stop learning. I was introduced to new tactics and philosophies. Equivalent experiences would have taken me many years to attain by going on 2 week summer fire assignments.
Gaining fire experience and working on task books are very important, but the relationships that I established while a member of the Redding IHC are invaluable. I feel that I am a part of a family of fire fighters that can be contacted for help, advice, or support at anytime. I had the chance to work and spend time with many different individuals throughout the fire community that were not associated directly with our crew. Working with cooperators from NPS, BLM, USFWS, and Cal Fire gave a broadened perspective of the national fire community as a whole.
My time working on a hotshot training crew will remain with me throughout my career. You truly get out of the experience what you put in. Putting my life on hold for six months at home and at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge was not easy. I consider myself lucky to be able to make that kind of sacrifice because not everyone can. I truly recommend this opportunity to any firefighter that is at a point where they can devote an extended period of time towards a field training detail.
Merritt Island NWR
For more information on the Redding IHC click the link below.
Dan Mallia, Superintendent
(530) 226-2721 (office)
(530) 949-6456 (cell)
Patrick Bell, Captain
(530) 226-2723 (office)