VENTURA COUNTY, California — The Springs Fire, which is threatening some 4,000 homes in Ventura County, about an hour north of Los Angeles, is almost 56 percent contained. A fire crew from Utah gets some credit for that.
It's day three battling back the blaze for Draper's Lone Peak Hotshots fire team. Friday, they got back to fire camp at around 9 p.m. after spending the whole day fighting wildfires. By Saturday at 6 a.m., they were back at it once again.
There are other jobs out there that might pay better or are a whole lot easier, but you won't find many that are as rewarding.
"Being a hotshot is one of the best jobs out there," said Supt. Kris Bruington.
They're the people who walk towards wildfires while everyone else runs away.
"It is demanding," said Darren O'Loughlin. "Sometimes it's not very glorious, not fun, but at the end of the day, you know you did a good job, put in a lot of good work, and that's what pays off."
They are in great physical shape — hiking up and down mountains to dig fire lines. But the mental part, especially 16 hour days, can be tough.
"There's usually a lot going on that would keep our minds busy, but when it's slow, we got some stuff we do," said <teve Michaelis.
Like here... where two of them played a round of rock, paper, scissors... to decide who gets the chainsaw.
O'Loughlin said his wife supports his career, even though she's pregnant and expecting this fall, after the end of the fire season.
"Sometimes it's stressful, especially people coming into this type of work and don't have an understanding of how long they may be away from their loved one," he said.
Thinking of life events like that is what gets these firefighters through those long and tough days, as well helping happy homeowners, being part of something big and most of all the brotherhood.
"These guys are my best friends," Michaelis said.
"It's certainly not the easiest job fighting wildfires, but these guys have said they love it, and they'll be here until the fire is out. Officials in Southern California expect the Springs Fire to be fully contained on Monday or early Tuesday.
Then, probably get assigned to a fire somewhere else.