Red McIntyre was transferred last year to the Mill Creek Station, near Palmdale, where he completed further classes and accomplished four certifications. He is the operator for Engine 18, and since Labor Day he and the Mill Creek crew have been squaring off against the Day Fire around Lake Castaic with nearly 2,200 fire personnel. As of Monday, the fire had consumed nearly 80,000 acres and cost $16,782,000 to bring to 15 percent containment.
“My whole life, my whole intention since I been a firefighter, is to give to the youth of the community, because so many of these youngsters have been misled by other gang members. I feel I owe that. If I can change just one kid’s life, I owe that. Twenty years ago, I would probably have just offered them a gun. Now the only thing I hold out to them is a job.” This time, his smile moves up and settles in his eyes. “It’s like, ‘from the hoods to the woods.’ ”