FIRESTORM '77: THE TRUE STORY OF THE HONDA CANYON FIRE
From the Executive Producer
I served as an Augmentee during the Honda Canyon Fire, December 20-21,1977 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. My duty was to put out spot fires in a canyon, just below the Honda Canyon Ridge Road. I watched fires above the canyon roar with intensity, a result of hurricane force winds. I knew, for better or worse, that if the winds changed direction; I couldn’t outrun the fire. The fire would have its way with me and the other assigned Augmentees.
In 2015, I read Joseph N. Valencia’s book: Beyond Tranquillon Ridge. It was apparent that Valencia painstakingly researched the fire, talked to its survivors, re-read the historical documents and poured his heart and soul into this story. I was deeply moved by his account of the Honda Canyon Fire. I am appreciative of what Joseph created, nurtured and brought to the world.
In 2018, Serendipity brought several of us together who are intent on re-telling Valencia’s story, this time through the medium of documentary. As part of this process, we have filmed interviews with several firefighters who survived this tragic ordeal, including Valencia. One thing is clear from these interviews: these individuals are true heroes. They did their duties with courage as they faced an insurmountable enemy. They put themselves before the greater good. I am humbled as I hear their stories. It is my hope that we can capture that which humbles me, in our documentary: Firestorm. If we do that, then this story will capture the hearts and minds of our audience.
Dennis R. Ford