Located in the mountains south of Lake Isabella California, the Rio Bravo Hotshots was started by the Kern County Fire Dept and Grant Young in 1989. Since then it has grown to be the only county federally recognized IHC.
The crew was started by the Kern County Fire Department as a ten-person initial attack crew. The county funded three IA crews around the county. The crews were made up of ten seasonal firefighters, and a extra help firefighter and a crew leader, usually a fire department engineer. These crews worked an eight day on and four day off cycle and were made up of college students needing summer employment.
Because of the climate and topography of Kern County, it is essential that we maintain a fire fighting hand crew within the Kern County Fire Department. In 1989 Black Mountain Hotshots, the original name for Rio Bravo, was formed. Headed by Grant Young and John Smith, the crew provided initial attack and extended attack for the county. Due to poor economy the crew was disbanded in 1992 through 1993.
In 1994 the budget came back and the crew was started up again. A crew in region four was currently using the name Black Mountain Hotshots so we adopted the name Rio Bravo, after the old Spanish settlers name for the Kern River. Because the overhead had previously worked on forest service hotshot crews they shaped the crew like one with seventeen seasonal firefighters and two crew Foremen and a crew Superintendent. In 1996 the crew began to travel throughout California.
In 1998 John Smith took over as superintendent and in 2000 the crew began to travel out side of California. In 2001 Rio Bravo became the first and only nationally recognized local government Interagency Hotshot Crew. In 2003 Jimmie Rocha became our Superintendent.
Grant Young - 1989-1991, 1994-1997
John Smith - 1998-2002
Jimmie Rocha - 2003