When Greg Gutierrez heard the word “Malibu” on the radio three weeks ago, he traveled back several years in his mind. No longer was Captain Gutierrez stationed at a desk inside California’s Office of Emergency Services — he was back in the Malibu hills again, fighting wildfires in the weeks leading up to Halloween.
“I ran a 17-man hand crew for five years,” the 45-year-old bass pro and fire captain said. “We used inmates from the California Department of Corrections and trained them to cut fire lines down there.”
He remembered the split-second decisions he had to make as their captain, the incredibly massive flames, and the task of moving his hand crew without the support of a fire engine.
And even though the inmates-turned-firefighters carried chainsaws, specialized firefighting axes called pulaskis, bush-axes, and rake-like hoes called McClouds, it was Gutierrez’ job to keep them in line using a ballpoint pen. Read More >