Article by Joshua Sudock| Orange County Register
SYLMAR – Late Monday afternoon, five Orange County firefighters laughed and lounged in the shade of their rig.
The men, normally attached to an Orange County Fire Authority stations in Placentia and Yorba Linda, have worked together for more than 20 years. Parked here, in a lot near a church, they range in age from 46 to 61.
Their mission on the Sand Fire at this point felt more camping trip than battle, complete with field-brewed coffee, sack lunches, ghost stories tied to past wildfires (really) and shooting stars.
Battalion Chief Colton Ashby talked about his wife and two children a lot and got emotional: He had missed the send-off of his 11-year-old son’s first trip to summer camp because he was here.
Between laughs, they observed the rising smoke columns from the Sand Fire, just two miles away. Their assignment: Study those columns, predict what the fire might do when the columns collapse, and extinguish any hot spots caused by drifting embers.
“The odds of something igniting this far from the main fire, given what the winds have been doing and what’s already burned, are pretty low, but it’s possible, so we’re here,” firefighter Ron Roberts said.
At dusk, another 13 OCFA firefighters joined them.
The campy mood quickly changed.
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