Laguna Hotshot Camp Weather

Thursday, June 25, 2009

1943 Hauser Staff Ride

The crew took advantage of the slow fire season start and went to the site of the 1943 Hauser fatality fire where 70+ Marines got overrun by the fire which resulted in 72 injuries, 9 Marine Corps. and 1 Army, 10th Cavalry (Buffalo Soldier), 1 unknown (possible civilian) fatalities and burned 10,000 acres. Dave Volgarino (Wilderness Ranger), a retired Laguna IHC Captain and Vietnam Marine Veteran conducted the Hauser Staff Ride.

Dave explains that this location was an old Forest Service campground and served as Fire Camp #2 for the Hauser Fire. Dave talked about the history of the area, the Marines from the Pine Valley training camp and the 10th Army Cavalry Regiment (Buffalo Soldiers) from Camp Lockett (Campo). The weather at the time of the fire was the typical East wind event of October and was caused by military gunnery practice. The fatalities occurred not because of the strong East Winds but the opposite. The East Winds died off and was suddenly overtaken by the normal canyon South West winds which reversed the direction of the fire.

Looking up the drainage where the marines took refuge in different locations or just tried to out run the fire. The indirect handline was located just left of the drainage. A spot fire started at the base of the drainage caused by the reversing winds from the west.

At this location, several Marines took shelter in the rocks and up against a granite bluff directly behind us. The Marine recruits no more than 17 to 20 years old endured extreme heat from the two different runs which created a broiler effect. According to the commanding officers, these young men stood their ground and did not panic even though they were being burned. Even though severely burned (hands, and backside) from the heat and lack of standard personal protection equipment used today, these young Marines at this location survived.

Granite Bluff that protected the Marines from at least direct flame impingement.

This picture demonstrates the path of the fire and two known locations where one group of Marines were burned but survived and another group perished. 4 Marines did outrun the fire by crashing through the brush to the Hauser Creek Truck Trail, a couple more tried to follow but did not win the race.

Marine Memorial at the site dedicated those young men who died as a result of the Hauser Fire.
Not listed is Corporal LeRoy Carter from the 10th Cavalry Regiment who died at at another location on the Hauser Fire.

1 comment:

Seth said...

There is no better way to honor these men, then by learning from their sacrifice. Good of you to document this little observed part of San Diego history.

Go Hotshots
Be safe