Wolf Creek Interagency Hotshot Crew
The Wolf Creek Interagency Hotshot Crew was born out of the Wolf Creek Job Corps Center South of Glide Oregon in 1976. Job Corps was designed to assist young people who both need and can benefit from the wide range of services provided in the residential setting of a Job Corps Center. These services include basic education, vocational skills training, work experience, counseling, health care and related support services. There are a number of Job Corps Centers located around the country operated by the Department of Agriculture and Interior. Most of these centers have provided AD firefighters and fire camp crews. In 1976, Wolf Creek started organizing a regular Forest Service Fire Crew with the intentions of developing an Interagency Hotshot Crew.
Serious skepticism greeted Wolf Creeks attempt to make fire fighters out of young, inexperienced Job Corps trainees. Wolf Creek officials had a field of 240 prospects and months of time to whip the best of them into Hotshot shape. Richard Aguilar, the first Superintendent started a program called Hell Week to separate the Hotshots from the rest. There were traditionally two Hell Weeks, the first in mid April and the second in mid June. The second one was for students that didn’t’ make the first one to challenge for a spot on the crew.
The students first day consisted of a 1.5 mile run before lunch and a 10.5 mile run after lunch. They must run the 1.5 mile run in less than eleven minutes and the 10.5 mile run in less than one hour and thirty minutes. Day two started with stretches and calisthenics followed by a fifteen mile forced up the scenic Thunder Mountain Road and ended back at the Center. Days three and four consisted of lots of digging fire line around control burn units with little rest and little food simulating conditions on a fire. The last day students are required to do calisthenics for the day, pushups, pull ups, sit ups and the step test. Only the best performers of Hell Week are selected to be members of the crew.
In 1985 Wolf Creek obtained Type 1 status and became an Interagency Hotshot Crew. Since the crew remains available year-round, they were able to extend their availability service wide, beyond the normal fire season.
Richard Aguilar was the Superintendent from the program’s inception in 1976 up until 1996. Chris Theisen became the Superintendent next and was the Supt up until 2001 when he left to start up Lewis and Clark IHC in Region 1 under the National Fire Plan. In 2002 the program struggled and lost their IHC status, student numbers were dropping and it was hard to find quality people. Chris Chiverton was the acting Supt in 2002. In 2003 Clyde Johnson took over the program. The program was struggling for several reasons, lack of students, and changes in direction with the National Interagency Hotshot Guide which required permanent overhead, fewer rookies, and higher qualifications. In 2005 the crew looked outside the Job Corps and started hiring regular 1039 Forestry Technicians to balance out the crew and regained their Type 1 status. At this time management and oversight of the crew was transferred to the Umpqua National Forest and the North Umpqua Ranger District and was supervised by the District Fire Management Officer. Adam Veale was the Assistant Superintendent from 2003-2005 and became the Superintendent in 2006, leaving in 2007 to become the Assistant Fire Management Officer on the North Umpqua Ranger District. Eric Miller was hired as the Superintendent in 2008 and held the position until 2014. Jake Garate was hired as Superintendent in the fall of 2014 and currently still holds the title. In the spring of 2015 the crew moved to Roseburg where they have made a home at the Fleet shop.
Over the years the Wolf Creek IHC has gone through many changes, some big and some small. The original crew logo of a wolf running towards burning trees with tools in hand on a bright orange shirt has been changed. The logo shows a wolf howling on a rock under the full moon. The crew colors were bright orange from 1976 until 2005 then changed to black briefly. In 2008 the crew adopted the burnt orange as their color with the newer logo.
1976-1996 Richard Aguilar
1997-2001 Chris Theison
2002 Chris Chiverton (acting)
2003 Alan Andrews (Detail)
2004-2005 Clyde Johnson
2006-2006 Adam Veale
2007-Ken Gregor (Detail)
2008-2014 Eric Miller
2014-Dean Whitney (Detail)
2014-Present Jake Garate