The Plumas National Forest staffed its first
nationally recognized Hotshot Crew in July of 1974 and for two
seasons would have it split into two separate 10-person modules; one
each on the Greenville and the Quincy Ranger Districts. These
modules came together, upon receipt of a resource request, to form
the Plumas Interagency Hotshot Crew.
For most of the first
season Charlie Earhart would act as Superintendent and supervise
the Greenville half of the crew with Jim Hogg supervising the
Quincy module. It wasn’t until nearly the end of that first season that
Dan Swearingen would officially be hired to fill the
Superintendent position. He would remain as such through the end of 1975
with Jim Hogg as his Foreman.
In ‘76 Hogg took over
for Swearingen and brought the entire crew together at the Quincy Work
Center location (now the Mt. Hough Ranger District Office), where they
are stationed to this day. Jim would stay with the crew from ‘76 until
‘78 with J.D. Killick as his assistant throughout that time
period. In late August of 1978 the crew, along with several other
Hotshot Crews throughout the Region, lost their national funding. Plumas
was able to remain together to finish out the season, operating out of
local dollars, but many crews were not so lucky.
The budget crisis that
began the previous season carried over through the next fiscal year and
in 1979 the crew was left unfunded and unstaffed. All equipment remained
on the shelf and Hogg moved on to other positions on the forest and
wouldn’t return to the Hotshot organization. He is still active in the
fire world today and works as a Logistics Section Chief within a
California Type 1 Incident Management Team(IMT). Killick would leave for
Region 3 and would eventually retire from a Southwest Hotshot Crew.
With the return of
funding in 1980, Tom Hatcher became Superintendent with Dave
Ross as his Foremen. Later that same year a second Foreman position
was created and Larry Vogan would be hired to fill it. Tom would
stay in the position through 1987 and in March of 1988 promote into a
Fuels ADFMO position, leaving the crew under Dave Ross, who acted as
Superintendent until July of that year. Tom retired in 2006 after
working his way up to Assistant Director of Fire and Aviation for Region
5 in Northern California.
In July of 1988 Kent
Swartzlander was named Superintendent behind Hatcher with Dave Ross
remaining as Foreman. Larry Vogan had moved on to the Lassen NF and his
position would remain vacant until 1989 when Jon Lee was hired to
fill it. Kent would hold the Superintendent position for 12 seasons,
from 1988 until 1999, during which time the organization was expanded to
include two permanent Squad Leaders and ,eventually, a single permanent
Senior Firefighter. In ‘99 Swartzlander left for the district Fuels AFMO
position and retired in 2010 as Forest FMO of the Six Rivers NF and
Incident Commander of a Type 2 IMT.
In 2000 Jack Sevelson
came back to the crew, to replace Kent as Superintendent, with Jon Lee
and Dave Ross staying in what were now being referred to as the
“Captain” positions. Jack started on the crew in 1980 and intends to
stay on as Supt. until they pry his tool from his cold dead fingers.
In the thirteen seasons
since he became Supt.13 Jack has overseen many changes within the Plumas
Hotshots organization; from the expansion of its permanent workforce to
include three more Senior Firefighters, to a seemingly endless shuffle
of folks to keep all those permanent positions filled.
In 2001, Jon Lee moved
to Cedar City, UT as Superintendent of the new Dixie Hotshots, with
Pete Duncan becoming Captain 13A in his place. Pete then moved on in
2004 and is currently holding the Chief 2 position on the Plumas NF.
Pete was replaced from within the crew by Ryan Bauer who himself
moved on to a district Fuels position in 2008 and was replaced by long
time crewmember Mike Sherman. Mike is still 13Alpha and in 2012
was entering his 15th season as a Plumas Hotshot.
Dave Ross retired from
the Capt. 13B slot in 2003 after 22 years as a Plumas Hotshot. Freddy
Brewster returned to the crew to replace Dave and with 15 years on
the crew, would move on to become Supt. 9 of the Lassen IHC. Joel
Schilling would promote from Fred’s Squad Leader to Capt.13B in the
spring of 2009 and remains there today.
The current organization
of the Plumas Hotshots is:
1 – GS-9, PFT,
Superintendent – Jack Sevelson
2 – GS-8, PFT, Captains
– Mike Sherman, Joel Schilling
2 – GS-6/7, PFT, Squad
Leaders – Joe McGinn, Patrick Callahan
4 – GS-5, PFT, Senior
Firefighters – Luke Pascucci, Steve Nicholson, Chris Flores
Charlie Earhart (acting)
1974; Dan Swearingen 1974-1975; Jim Hogg 1976-1978; Tom Hatcher
1980-1987; Kent Swartzlander 1988-1999; Jack Sevelson 2000 to present
1974-1976; J.D. Killick 1976-1978; Dave Ross 1980-2003; Larry Vogan
1980-1986; Jon Lee 1989-2000; Pete Duncan 2001-2004; Ryan Bauer
2005-2007; Fred Brewster 2003-2009; Mike Sherman 2008 to present; Joel
Schilling – 2009 to present