Modjeska and Silverado Canyons and the 2007 Santiago Fire


Canyon resident and Volunteer Fire Station 16 chief

 Bruce Newell


OH 4153  
Narrator Bruce Newell
Interviewer Volker Janssen
Date May 3, 2008
Language English
Location Modjeska Canyon, Orange County, California
Project 2007 Santiago Fire
Format(s) Audio, Final Transcript (39 pp.)
Other Field Notes, Photographs
Abstract 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 Newell's background prior to his move to Modjeska, his work as volunteer fire captain in the canyons, his relationship to the rural community of Modjeska and his experiences during the Santiago fire. The interview focuses especially on his upbringing in Springfield, Illinois, his boyhood on the lake, and studying architecture; work and career in development in Los Angeles, Seattle, London, and Chicago; move to Lake Forest, California; discovery of Modjeska Canyon through visit at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary; making a home in Modjeska and a commute to Newport Beach; training as a fireman; the jobs of a firefighter; organizing the community for fire safety; fire risks at Newell's own property; the use of "barricade" fire protection foam; becoming a fire captain in a volunteer force; county inmate hand crews in fire fighting; managing career and volunteer work; the arrival of the all-year fire season; concerns over development; Santiago fire: firefighting operations of Fire Station 16; pull-black, burn-over and shelter deployment; getting people out of the canyon; the temporary complete pull-out of Modjeska and a determined return to fight "targets of opportunity;" fighting fire in his own backyard; life at the station house; working with units from across the nation; the return of a grateful community; preparing for debris flow; lessons from the fire.
Audio Part 1 (download.mp3)
Part 2 (download.mp3)
Transcipt Text (download.pdfPDF File)

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.