Texas Canyon Hotshots History

texas canyon crew photo 2019

Historic crew photo of the Texas Canyon Hotshots 

texas canyon logoThe Texas Canyon Hotshot Crew, located on the outskirts of the Santa Clarita Valley, was established in 1954.  The Texas Canyon Guard Station and Hotshot Crew were named after Texas Canyon, a tributary to Bouquet Canyon located approximately two miles south of the station.  In the late 1860s, two brothers settled a homestead on a parcel of land in an unnamed canyon, where they ran cattle and did a little prospecting. The brothers, feeling homesick, named their canyon homestead Texas Canyon after their home state. Early maps of the area indicate that in 1926, the Texas Canyon Guard Station and three other Forest Fire Guard Stations were in service on the Saugus District of the Angeles National Forest.  From about 1933 - 1942 Texas Canyon hosted a Civilian Conservation Corps. Camp, which was part of the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

In the 1950s, the U.S. Forest Service received an Army Corps of Engineers contract for a stabilization and drainage project on a road under construction to the Nike Missile base at Los Pinetos (LA County Camp 9). Dick Dorn, who was superintendent of the Texas Canyon Hotshots at the time, was charged with obtaining additional manpower. Rather than hire locals, Dorn opted to recruit Native Americans from the Zuni Indian Reservation in New Mexico. In addition to performing this project work, the Zunis served as firefighters on the Texas Canyon Hotshots. The Zuni tribal symbol of the Knife Wing Kachina, (Achi ya lada:ba), became the official symbol of the Texas Canyon Hotshots.  Dick Dorn reported that one of the Zunis would sketch the symbol onto the hardhats and another would hand-paint the symbol in fine detail.  Zuni Indians served as firefighters with Texas Canyon until the 1977 fire season.  The crew has fought fire in just about every western state including Alaska and Region 8.  In 1985 the crew was sent down to Mexico City to provide humanitarian aid on behalf of the State Department for Mexico’s Earthquake Recovery and was recognized by the Embassy of The United States of America and the President of Mexico, Miguel de la Madrid. In 2009 after Eighty Three years the Texas Canyon Compound was moved with the Hotshots and the Engine.  The new station is located down Bouquet Canyon about a one-half mile where the old Saugus District Office use to stand before the Buckweed Fire burned it down in October of 2007.  The only thing left of the old station is the concrete foundation pads where the buildings used to stand. Longtime superintendent Ron Smith started his career on the Texas Canyon Hotshots in 1957. He served as the Superintendent from 1975 until his retirement on the Marre Fire in 1993. John Thomas served as a Crewman in 1977, Foreman from 1984 to 1993 and Superintendent from 1993 to 2002. John Armstrong served as Foreman from 1990 to 2002 and served as Superintendent from 2002 to 2016.

Crew Superintendents:

Ed Kolchowski                 1954-1955

Dick Dorn                        1956-1957

Bob Alvord                      1958-1960

Leoroy Hubenak               1961-1963

Bill Harper                       1964-1971

Ray Guardado                  1972-1974

Ron Smith                        1975-1993 (Retired in place)

John Thomas                   1993-2001

John Armstrong               2002-2016 (Retired in place)

Danny Breuklander           2017-Present

Image of a blue and white embroidered patch with a winged Zuni figure on a shield

Texas Canyon Hotshots established 1954