Modjeska and Silverado Canyons and the 2007 Santiago Fire


Canyon resident

Robert Hunt


OH 4147  
Narrator Rober (Bob) Hunt
Interviewer Volker Janssen
Date June 21, 2008
Language English
Location Modjeska Canyon, Orange County, California
Project 2007 Santiago Fire
Format(s) Audio; Video
Other Field Notes; Photographs
Abstract An oral history with Bob Hunt, a Texan and long-time Orange County resident. This interview was conducted for the Center for Oral and Public History and Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary about the Santiago Fire in Modjeska Canyon in October 2007. The purpose of this interview was to gather information about Hunt's background prior to his move to Modjeska, his life in the nature and rural community of Modjeska and his experiences during the Santiago Fire. The interview pays particular attention to growing up as a war child; love for the woods; high school and college in Missouri; a United States Marine in Okinawa; civilian life in Orange County since 1967; homeownership in and misgivings about Santa Ana; finding and making a home in Modjeska Canyon in 1989; Modjeska social life in the 1990s; community activism on land use; editing the Inter-Canyon news; fighting county bureaucracy and development promoters; learning to live with Modjeska House; skepticism about efficacy of fire safety measures; balancing defensible space and the canyon's natural landscaping; fire risk increases due to fuel loads and drought, and global warming; limits to development; need for trail maintenance; comparisons between Dallas area and Orange County; Santiago Fire: watching the flames approach; a fire-fighting son in the burn-over; choosing belongings for evacuation; keeping in touch with the community; getting correct information despite mass media coverage; returning to a moonscape; organizing relief through the Inter-Canyon League; un-bureaucratic hands-on assistance from the county; the threat of rain and debris flows, and "armoring" the creek; opposition to mandatory evacuation; firefighters' need for local knowledge; lessons from the fire; a new inter-canyon solidarity.
Video Parts 1-3 (watch online - coming soon!)
Audio Part 1 (download.mp3)
Part 2 (download.mp3)

This project is made possible, in part, by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities. The Council is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the Council, visit www.calhum.org.