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Blog, Latest Headlines, Announcements & Reviews



From the Producer

Thursday, July 19, 2018

As many of you know from reading our Facebook Page (@firestormthedocumentary), I recently went into seclusion to be begin producing the first of rough-cut of FireStorm. It is a process that requires extensive reviews of the same digital data so that nuggets can be pulled out to be shown to our audience.

I’ve found this process to be insightful and alternately it has taught me to respect the actions of the interviewers as they faced what could only be considered insurmountable catastrophic conditions during the Honda Canyon Fire. I was especially impacted as I heard Ron Fink tell of his respect (and I suspect intimate friendship) for Chief Billy Bell. You see Ron had to take over the fire as his chain of command literally perishes during the fire. There is an anguish and a high pitch trill in his voice that haunts me. The same can be said as I literally heard the last known words of Chief Bill Bell: I’m trapped in here.

I am awed as I hear these common men sacrifice themselves in the pursuit of something greater than the sum of themselves. I’m also quite scared that I will not do justice for these voices, now forty years later. I guess this is the dilemma that each producer faces as they attempt to re-tell a story. You the audience will be and are the judge of such matters.

I have taken out snippets from the interviews and have asked our gracious publicist, Glenn Fuss, to put these snippets on our social media sites, during my self-imposed absence from Social Media. My hope is that you are able to grasp the emotional sincerity of the interviewers as they re-tell their stories and perhaps get a taste for the forthcoming documentary. For me, this sincerity has been an unexpected, yet satisfying reward as I continue to work on the documentary.

--Dennis R. Ford, Producer



From the Producer

Monday, August 27, 2018

“FireStorm the Documentary” tells of the bravery, selflessness and fear(s) of first-responders who fought the Honda Canyon Fire—a raging wild land fire--in 100 mile-an-hour winds at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, in 1977.

What began as a small brush fire caused by a spark from a wind-snapped electrical pole on the morning of December 20 quickly grew to extreme proportions as the result of a local “Santa Ana” wind event--an atmospheric gradient condition over the southwestern Great Basin of the United States that whipped up hurricane-force winds to blow westward over central coastal California where the base is located.

The Honda Canyon Fire took four lives, caused injuries to sixty-five first responders, burnt 10,000 wild land acres and left significant damage to Air Force installation infrastructure. This event has since led to material changes in best wild land fire management practices, resources, safety and training.

Despite all the positive changes, official acknowledgment has yet to be given to the one thousand or so personnel called to fight this blaze. More significantly, the physical and emotional wounds that lay dormant or festering for forty years have now surfaced. In “FireStorm,” first responders are coming forward and telling (re-telling) their personal stories in vivid and compelling detail. The film’s first priority is to acknowledge these true heroes and capture both, their stories and their emotions for its audience. As the film rolls on, you hear their yet-unanswered questions, the “what-ifs.” In their faces you see their loss, the ghosts of their shared past. The film leaves each viewer to question whether all the brave survivors have purged and purified their hearts and minds of this tragic event or whether they remain fixed in that moment in time forever scarred by the brutality of the firestorm?

The film—what living first responders have to say—is made even more relevant today as we face a “new normal.” Now is a time our communities are experiencing and increasingly threatened by more severe wild land fires. Do fire managers and first responders have all that they need to be successful? And what are the implications of trauma induced by these catastrophic events? Does the trauma ever go away? What are the consequences of leaving any emotional scars undiagnosed or untreated?

Finally, “FireStorm” asks the viewer to watch and listen to the heroes’ stories in earnest, hear the facts of what happened, observe their heart-felt emotions, and acknowledge their personal sacrifices and contributions to the fire fight then, and now.

--Dennis R. Ford, Producer



From the Producer

Thursday, August 30, 2018

I recently finished the first rough-cut of FireStorm. I have shown it to perhaps ten people, two words are repeated over and over; intense and compelling. I now have passed the rough-cut on for further collaboration.

A couple things become clear; First, we need to extend the duration of the story to ninety minutes (or perhaps 120 minutes). As such, we have convened interviews for September-October. I don’t think this will affect our long-term schedule.

Secondly, we want to address Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as it relates to those impacted by traumatic fire events. I have reached out to the Wild Land Firefighters Foundation (Boise, Idaho) for guidance as I want to address this with dignity & respect, within the documentary. Please refer to Glenn Fuss recent blog entry, on our Facebook Page.

Finally, we are producing a website that allows us to crowdfund some of the costs for the production. This documentary is very much a labor of love. However, we anticipate costs will rise as we pay others for professional services. Should any of you have ideas on how we can secure more funding, please do not hesitate to pass on your advise. A tentative goal for crowdfunding is October-November 2018.

--Dennis R. Ford, Producer



From the Producer

Saturday, September 22, 2018

FireStorm In today’s world, we are consistently being told over and over again that a certain somebody is a hero. The word “hero” soon becomes deft to our ears as it is used without discrimination. As I interview the people who actually fought the Honda Canyon Fire in 1977, I am reminded of what a “true hero” is: It’s a person who has a sense of duty to others, who performs selfless acts without hesitation, who puts the greater good well before themselves. They are people with the rare combined attributes of humility and bravery.

I tell you this because the interviews can impact me emotionally. Yesterday’s interview of Mike Alt (see photo above: Mike is standing in front of the door with a green shirt on) was such an event, Mike told us of his own guilt when someone he was responsible for was injured by the fire and then of his personal efforts to save the same individual from bleeding to death. I saw tears welling in Mike eyes. My eyes soon began to tear.

The stories of heroes must be preserved and be saved for posterity. As such, I will to do everything in my power to get this film produced. I just hope I am able to convey the emotional impact of these interviews to you.

As I am learning, Independent filmmakers face many hurdles. FireStorm’s greatest hurdle will be paying for professional services that a modern film mandates. As such, my partners and I currently are trying to gain fiscal sponsorship from a non-profit organization. Meaning: a contribution to FireStorm can be used as a tax write-off for IRS purposes.

Note: the fiscal sponsor acts as a third party ensuring that we adhere to IRS guidelines. Also, we can submit for grants from organizations that promote independent film making. I will update this Facebook page, as these opportunities become available.

--Dennis R. Ford, Producer



From the Producer

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

So far, FireStorm has attempted to be an accurate and honest accounting of the December 1977 Honda Canyon Fire using a mosaic of interviewees. What comes from all this is a story about true heroes who faced a conflagration and survived.

It’s clear from our interviews that the 1977 Honda Canyon Fire is a compelling story and the interviewees are strong and memorable characters--each having been put into a world of imminent, life-threatening danger that day, and required to face that danger with a complicated mix of bravery, courage, fear and other significant, conflicting human emotions. In effect, each member faced their own conflagration that day.

It has been most compelling to me that our contributors have given freely of themselves, to be interviewed for this film. Some traveled great distances to tell their stories at no cost to FireStorm. To me, there’s something at work here as old as time itself: the need to tell one’s story. Speaking for myself, the telling of my own Honda Canyon Fire story has been cathartic, with a new self-awareness having emerged.

As we finish raw filming and a second edit, FireStorm will now attempt to answer this essential question: Did a new awareness develop after the 1977 fire? As George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” For now, I say we will do our best to answer this question in an honest and truthful way.

--Dennis R. Ford, Producer



From the Producer

Sunday, April 7, 2019

How “FireStorm The Documentary” came to be…

Joseph Valencia and I served at the 1977 Honda Canyon fire. In fact, the Air Force said that over a thousand people served at the fire. In 2002, Joseph decided to write about his experiences during the 1977 conflagration. He gathered all available archival resources, including USAF Fire Department audio of the event, and interviewed many of the ‘boots on the ground’ individuals who fought on the fire’s front lines.

In 2004, Joseph published his book, “Beyond Tranquillon Ridge.” It tells of the realities brought to bare in the course of fighting this fire: the chaos, the hurricane-force winds, the conflicting personalities, the dominating sense of duty, and the tragic deaths of four respected leaders. Joseph’s book became a catalyst for change in how to fight wild land fires. The larger community of wild land firefighters has since learned from mistakes documented in the book and implemented several corrective measures being applied today. When you talk to firefighters now, you see pride in their eyes as they show Joseph’s book sitting on a ready-reference shelf in their respective stations.

I first read Joseph’s book in 2015. Immediately, time-hidden memories surfaced for me. Again, I could “smell” the acrid grey smoke; I could “see” fire move as molten lava on the surrounding hillsides; I could “feel” the fear as seen in the eyes of fellow augmentees—all then fighting this fire without training or protective gear. After reading the book, I realized that time had all-but erased this fire from the memory of the community, physically speaking, closest—a mere eight miles--to the 1977 conflagration. How could this be so?

I brought the question to my college film professor, Christopher Hite. Together, we decided that the significant events and experiences laid bare in Joseph’s book must be shown as a documentary film. Step 1: enlist Joseph’s collaboration. Step 2: write a screenplay. Using “Beyond Tranquillon Ridge” as a storyline, I spent the next two years writing a screenplay. In March, 2017, Joseph and I received a Document of Registration from the Writers’ Guild of America, West, Inc. acknowledging us as rightful co-writers of our screenplay. In April, 2017, Christopher suggested we create a documentary as ‘guerilla filmmakers.’ Soon thereafter we began to interview those ‘boots on the ground’ Honda Canyon fire survivors Joseph had interviewed for his book beginning in 2002.

All the personal stories and lessons learned as re-told in Joseph’s book and in the production of this film, are truly important. How relevant and unforgettable the memory of the 1977 Honda Canyon fire is today where, in the forty years that have transpired since, extreme, year-round wild land fires have become the ‘new normal’ here on the Central Coast, throughout California and the western United States. That is to say, among its other apparent contributions, “FireStorm” too, may serve as a case study of an earlier super fire teaching us lessons that save lives today.

--Dennis R. Ford, Producer



From the Producer

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Every one of us is bombarded every day with requests for money. I get it. Now, someone making a documentary film about an event that occurred four decades ago is asking for money. Why should you donate to such a thing when there are far more important ways to spend your money?

As I continue to work on FireStorm I’m coming to realize it’s akin to looking into a crystal ball. Let me explain: Former California Governor Jerry Brown coined, “The New Normal,” to describe today’s fire conditions in the western United States. Further, he predicted that going forward we will have more fire, more destructive fire and more costly fire. If true, we are looking at a future with super fires, but at exactly what expense?

FireStorm looks at the human costs of being in the direct path of just such a super wildfire. The film will tell the relevant and dramatic stories of eight fire overruns, in the words and images of a number of lucky, grateful survivors. Also key, the film memorializes those true heroes who were tragically lost in the effort. For comparison: recall the 2018 Camp fire that killed five people while in their personal vehicles, and impacted so many more overran in their vehicles.

FireStorm opens that window from which we can reasonably foresee the impact of, and better understand and appreciate the psychological costs likely to be experienced from a more certain future such event. Herein lies the importance of donating to our documentary. Help us tell our story of heroism and loss. To donate, please click the link: Thank you.

--Dennis R. Ford, Producer



From the Producer

Saturday, June 1, 2019

As said in an earlier post, we are concurrently preparing a training film for the Vandenberg Air Force Base Fire Department. As I work on it, I again get to hear the first-hand stories from our FireStorm interviewees—all true heroes. As a result of this, I have made at least two significant observations:

(1) Those “boots on the ground” firemen and augmentees who were on the front lines of the Honda Canyon Fire grew up in houses whose parents had served in prior wars (WWI, WWII, Korean) and acquired a notion of “service for a greater good.” As a result of this foundation, these individuals did not hesitate one moment to give of themselves fully when it was their time to serve. I am humbled each time I hear their stories.

(2) In the true sense of the word, these individuals are heroes. I say this because they were willing to sacrifice themselves for a greater good. Yet, only recently have their stories been allowed to be told—in print and on film. To me, this is wrong. Correcting this unfairness is at the core of FireStorm’s mission: to tell the true stories of the 1977 Honda Canyon Fire so that they will be heard by the greatest possible number of people for time in perpetuity. 

As we now finish filming and begin post-production and marketing the documentary film, please do not hesitate to pass on to others all that you see on FireStorm’s Facebook page and website. In this simple way, you, too, can effectively contribute to the necessary telling, re-telling and perpetuation of these important stories.

--Dennis R. Ford, Producer



From the Publicist

July 3, 2019

We’ve updated a number of content items today here and on the FireStorm website. Please take a few moments to check things out.

On the news front:

FireStorm has applied (July, 2019) for funds from Sundance Foundation, necessary to help complete filming, editing and marketing, distribution.

A first cut FireStorm film is expected for completion in August, 2019. This is a shorter version of the documentary necessary to accompany film festival application.

An on-camera in-studio interview will occur this fall (between September and December, 2019) with Melanie Bidwell, formerly with KSBY and on-scene reporter during the 1977 Honda Canyon fire.

FireStorm Film Festival Plans:

Tentative Submission Venues and Dates for Calendar Year 2019. Again, venues and dates are subject to change. Stay connected to our website and/or social media platforms for the latest information.

​Tier One:

AFI DOCS (Washington, D.C.): March, 2020

DOC LA Film Festival: June 2020

America Documentary (Palm Springs): October 2020

Tier Two (Oscar Level):

Santa Barbara Int'l Film Festival: June 2020, July 2020

San Francisco Int'l Film Festival: August 2020

​Tier Three (Gold Member):

Napa Valley Film Festival: June 2020

San Luis Obispo Film Festival: July 2020

--Glenn Fuss, Publicist


BLOG #10

From the Executive Producer

July 19, 2019

Response to our trailer has been fantastic with close to 600 plays and many very appreciated donations. Thank you all, for your enthusiastic response!

Having said that, creating a film is expensive. We require your further financial support.

Why should you fund our documentary film—support our cause with your hard-earned dollars? Answer: FireStorm: The True Story of the Honda Canyon Fire tells of everyday people placed in the worst of situations and forced to react to what is immediately confronting them—in this case, a massive conflagration, a firestorm. At its core, FireStorm tells the stories of true heroes—a few who perished, many who survived.

For reasons that can’t be argued, survivors were not given an opportunity to tell of their profound experience in a massive firefight that forever changed their lives. We all lose something extraordinary when heroes cannot share the true facts and emotions of their experience, or lessons learned. This is at the heart of FireStorm: a documentary film with the potential to permanently record, vividly represent and reach the widest possible audience.

I ask for your continued support so that we might give these true heroes the acknowledgement they so deserve, preserve their important stories, and continue taking action to save lives in inevitable future fire fights.

To donate, please click:

--Dennis R. Ford, Executive Producer


BLOG #11

From the Executive Producer

August 24, 2019

In the movie “Frankenstein,” Doctor Frankenstein famously uttered, “It’s Alive, Its Alive!” Similarly, we can report that FireStorm: The True Story of the Honda Canyon Fire, is ALIVE, is ALIVE!! So much so that I am now working in earnest on marketing our documentary film.

As it’s turning out, marketing, I’m afraid, has been akin to walking a tightrope of sorts: balancing respect for the families whose loved ones perished in the fire, and to our on-camera interviewees who never hesitated once to tell the truth knowing there maybe some retribution for doing so, together with what I call the inevitable influence of ‘Hollywood hype’ that attaches to the making of a film. As with any balancing act, there is a great possibility that I will fall, unintentionally hurting someone. Please accept my sincere apologies, in advance.

You can now see FireStorm’s marketing story at:

It says exactly what has been in my heart from the inception of the idea of creating a documentary film through the four-year journey I have traveled to today. I want to personally thank Carole Lee Dean, President of From the Heart Production, for graciously helping me draft our marketing story. From the Heart is a registered 501(c) non-profit organization that helps independent filmmakers get funding. Ms. Dean is a lovely person who naturally gives of herself to others. At the link, too, you can see FireStorm”s trailer (again). Simply click the arrow on the photograph above our marketing story.

Finally here, yesterday it hit me like a ton of bricks that I have all of YOU to help me navigate this marketing tightrope. Please click on the above link, read the marketing story, then provide your suggestions, comments, advice. I am happy to hear what you say. If it fits the narrative, I will add it to our marketing story.

--Dennis R. Ford, Executive Producer


BLOG #12

From the Executive Producer

December 8, 2019

Lately, I’ve have not said much on FireStorm’s Facebook Page. The reason is that we are in the midst of film editing. Please know that this is the most important thing we can be doing right now, to properly tell the story of the 1977 Honda Canyon Fire.

Let me explain:

Our production crew is currently laboring, digesting and whittling down some two hundred hours of film footage, 260 pages of written text from Joseph Valencia’s book, “Beyond Tranquillon Ridge,” and numerous other recorded historical accounts, photographs and interviews, into what ultimately will result in our one-hour documentary. All this effort requires extraordinary creativity, and an unbelievable amount of time.

More importantly than the whittling down process, is the “cut” which, broadly speaking, involves the splicing together the many separate scenes into a consistent storyline that makes sense to us, and our viewing audience.

Creating a film is one hundred percent inconsistent with how we live our daily lives. For all of us, time is continuous. For the making of a film, we must necessarily skip forward then backward in time, again and again--akin to walking a tightrope: paying painstaking attention to every detail, not to lose the viewer's attention

Chris is doing an excellent job creating the “cuts.” I have repetitively told Chris, these “cuts” mess up my head as each brings me right back to that awful fire. This is highest compliment I can give Chris because to bring someone back to a time and place by visual storytelling is indeed a talent.

--Dennis R. Ford, Executive Producer


BLOG #13

From the Executive Producer

April 8, 2020


Work on the documentary continues. Chris is moving forward with story and film editing. Joseph and I continue to address the hundred and one other items necessary to putting a film together.

At this moment, Chris has produced thirteen minutes of what is expected to be about a twenty-minute Act 2: Death. Act 2, even in its current infant shape, is intense and powerful; it makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

By about June, the completed Act 2 will be sent to KQED for peer-review, and their artistic and technical suggestions. We seriously appreciate that KQED has taken a keen interest in the development of FireStorm; we take their input to heart.

Unlike with Act 1, we will not share Act Two clips. We want you to see it for the first time at a film festival, next year.

---Dennis R. Ford, Executive Producer


BLOG #14

From the Executive Producer

May 27, 2020

I am grateful to the thousands of people who responded to our Facebook Page Memorial, posted this holiday weekend. Clearly, the tragedy of the 1977 Honda Canyon Fire has not been forgotten!!

My personal impetus for creating the documentary has to do with a conversation I had with a person about two decades ago, and whose name has since faded from memory. I told that individual about my participation in the 1977 Honda Canyon Fire. Without hardly blinking an eye, he responded to the effect, why would I make up such a story; to make up such a story is not funny. His response offended me at the time, but I let it go then as I was too busy with life.

It took me a while to figure out the significance of that conversation. It has since dawned on me: ‘If we do not heed the lessons of history, we are doomed to repeat them.’ Simply, my investment in the long and arduous task of creating this documentary film is to tell the stories of those who served at this fire, so we don’t forget that which is important.

So, my friends, how amazing it was to see your overwhelming responses to this post!! You have given me hope in these trying times. Thank you.

Note: Giving credit where it is due: I discovered through the journey of the documentary’s making that Vandenberg Fire Department continues to keep the true story of the 1977 Honda Canyon Fire alive, by using its challenges and failures to teach others how to respond and survive a similar wildfire. As a survivor of this fire, I am grateful to the Vandenberg Fire Department for the respect and dignity they have extended to those of us who served on the front lines of this fire and, more importantly, for using lessons learned to save the lives of those individuals serving now and in the future.

---Dennis R. Ford, Executive Producer 


BLOG #15

From the Executive Producer

Sunday May 31, 2020

A couple of items to pass along to you all today…

We formally changed the title of the documentary film, and its website and Facebook page to: "Firestorm ’77 The Honda Canyon Fire."

The word Firestorm was lifted from Battalion Chief Don Perry’s actual field notes written one or two days after the fire. '77 refers to the year of the fire. The Honda Canyon Fire is the moniker attributed to the fire’s essential location. We believe this title sets a place and is instructive to those who do, and those who do not know about this particular fire event.

Separately, our publicist, Glenn Fuss, recently completed a major update of the film’s website, here. Though it is still several months out, we are now starting to transition to post-production and airing. Visitors to our website will now see yet more of the behind-the-scenes work we have been doing. Viewers will now see the documentary’s official video trailer and other clips form the movie, the film’s poster and other key art, and numerous behind-the-scenes photographs documenting cast on-camera interviews, marketing events, the making of the film and trailer showings. 

Thank you for visiting our website.  Also

please visit our Facebook page at:

---Dennis R. Ford, Executive Producer

1977 Hot Shot Crew.jpg

BLOG #16

From the Executive Producer

August 22, 2020

We are now assessing to which film festivals we will be submitting Firestorm later this year.

First and foremost, we are independent filmmakers--independent of the Hollywood system. Nevertheless, Firestorm will compete on the same stage as Hollywood film submissions, and the audience will judge which are good and which have merit--particularly good or worthy, deserving praise or reward. 

In addition, film festivals will introduce our documentary to the Hollywood system. Hollywood sends its scouts to film festivals to see what festival goers like or dislike. Many a film’s future is judged by the film festival audience’s reaction to it.  In this way, the scouts select which independent movies are brought to the larger studios. Robert Rodriguez shot the action film El Mariachi in Spanish for about $7000 in the early 1990’s. Columbia Studios bought it, reworked it and grossed $1 million at the box office).

Finally, film festivals will facilitate reaching our simple goal for Firestorm: telling survivors' true stories of the 1977 Honda Canyon Fire to the world. Film festivals open that door and place us on an equal footing with Hollywood submissions.

Today, Chris, our director, is finishing a full-length rough-cut, about 50 minutes--a 90-percent version of the final film. In early September, we intend to submit our project to these film festivals:

Sundance (Los Angeles, CA)

Slamdance (Los Angeles, CA)

Big Sky (Missoula, MT)


Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA).

You might ask, why submit only a 90-percent version of the film? First, to cut costs. Second, and more importantly, a film festival screener's job is to judge whether our 90-percent film has merit or not, so that it can be shown to its festival audiences. From this "peer review" we will learn if our 90-percent story has merit. Film festival screeners will judge our film without bias. We believe this is a smarter strategy for the success of our film which, from many other indicators thus far, has solid merit.

If we are selected to any of these festivals, you will be the first to know.

--Dennis R. Ford, Executive Producer


BLOG #17

From the Executive Producer

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Chris has now released a fifty-two minute First Cut version of Firestorm ’77—beginning to end. In this film Chris has captured survivors’ true and honest reactions to the fire—now four decades removed—and for that reason alone has done a great service to those of us who were on the fire’s front lines. I am proud of the film. I am especially proud of the collaboration between Chris, Joseph, Glenn and myself.

The film in its current form will be shown to a limited audience for test screening purposes. It has been submitted as a rough draft to a number of prestigious film festivals mentioned in prior posts. I purposely say “rough draft” as we are not finished fine-editing. We will spend the next two months fine-tuning the story, using concepts of continuous improvement to tell the best story we can. We expect this final editing to add four to five more minutes to the film’s total length.

--Dennis R. Ford, Executive Producer


BLOG #18

From the Executive Producer

Thursday, November 19, 2020

We completed the documentary last month (October). To my surprise, we are still exceptionally busy working out fine details. Specifically:

1. We are creating "special features" vignettes, 2 -10 minutes each in length, meant to be stand-alone stories where viewers can gain additional information or detail, perfectly complimenting the feature film.

2. Our documentary has now been viewed by and received endorsements from nationally recognized wildland fire management experts Stephen J. Pyne (Emeritus Professor, Arizona State University, and TED Presenter) and John N. Maclean (author: "Fire on the Mountain" and other wildland fire books).

3. In addition to creative story and film development, we have been spending considerable, necessary time addressing the many business aspects of filmmaking and marketing.

4. As of this date, "Firestorm ’77: The True Story of the Honda Canyon Fire" has been submitted to thirty-three film festivals worldwide.  The documentary's challenge now: will this story of a 1977 California wildland fire capture the heart, mind and soul of festival film selectors? Time will tell.

We expect to receive two festival notifications this December and six notifications in January.

Due to COVI-19, we expect earlier film festivals will be virtual: a festival attendee simply pays the festival an "admission" fee, then receives viewing access to their selected film(s)--all from the safety of their own home. It is also possible that the filmmakers will be able to talk to attendees in real time via virtual software (example: Zoom), though details may differ with each film festival.

Rest assured, I will tell you of the film festivals that select us and of their means of presenting the films.  

--Dennis R. Ford, Executive Producer


BLOG #19

From the Executive Producer

December 20, 2020

On this, the 43rd Anniversary of the Fire..."

In June 2015, I read Joseph N. Valencia’s seminal book: "Beyond Tranquillon Ridge"-- a first-hand account of his personal involvement in the 1977 Honda Canyon Fire at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. I wanted to read his book because I too was on the front lines of that horrible wildfire.

My 12-14 duty hours that fateful December were simultaneously exhilarating and frightening--the stuff of nightmares. I remember standing at the bottom of a canyon at O-Dark-Thirty, intuitively knowing that if the fire changed direction and came towards me, I would not be able to outrun it; I would soon be meeting my maker.

Reading Joseph’s book took me down "Alice's" Rabbit’s Hole. For me, it was a gateway to an entirely new world of thoughts with many twists and turns. Unexpectedly, Joseph wrote that many brave souls who fought this wildfire experienced varying degrees of emotional trauma. This fact ensnared me: that, like me, others too continue to this day to live with some personal degree of emotional trauma despite the good length of time that has gone by since December 1977. 

I have spent five years going down this Rabbit Hole, trying to get some answers to some very difficult questions. Some questions have gone nowhere. Others have led to moments of great clarity. On this, the fire's 43rd anniversary, I would like to share with you one such moment.

I have come to see the 1977 Honda Canyon Fire as a remnant of the Cold War--a battle fought by the children of the “Greatest Generation.” And, like their parents, these individuals did not question why. They simply did what was expected of them. To this point, I remember asking most difficult questions about death and loss. Without hesitation or judgement, these survivors expressed profound loss and a deep seeded respect for those who had fallen. To me, this is the stuff of heroes: do what others won't attempt--run into the face of fire and death--not judging those who have fallen before you.

--Dennis R. Ford, Executive Producer


BLOG #20

From the Executive Producer

January 5, 2021

This month, January 2021, we expect to receive notifications from six of forty-five film festivals we submitted to. That is to say, we will soon get a yes or a no as to whether or not our story is worthy enough for film festival audiences. This is and has always been where the chaff gets separated from the wheat.

Because of the COVID19 pandemic, film festivals will initially adhere to a hybrid or virtual festival model. Meaning, for a fee, a viewer can see film(s) in the comfort of their home--akin to watching a Netflix or an HBOMax movie. Each festival has their own particular fee structure and system.

As Firestorm ’77 is selected, I will tell you about the selecting film festival and provide you with the necessary link(s). Hopefully we can begin to physically attend festivals later in 2021.

You, our loyal Facebook Page followers, are invited to join us on our scary yet fulfilling rollercoaster film selection ride through 2021.

--Dennis R. Ford, Executive Producer

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