A listener writes “I am a former Wildland Firefighter who experienced something out of the ordinary on deployment to the Woodward Fire in Point Reyes California, in 2020. The operational dates of my deployment to the Woodward Fire were August 23rd – September 5th.
I was 22 years old in the later months of 2020. There was three of us that got dispatched to the Woodward Fire in a Type 6 Fire Engine. My position on the crew was the lead Sawyer, and Engineer. (Communications, Navigations, Overhead face-to-face, etc.) The other two positions consisted of the Engine Boss, and a fellow Firefighter Type 1 (James).
When we had arrived, it was roughly 10 p.m. We quickly set up camp as we arrived to Basecamp/Incident Command. The next morning, our Engine Boss sent me to go to the Morning Briefing and to complete all logistical requirements for us to be assigned to a Division on the fire. And James was sent to get water, gatorade, and lunches for the day.
As I arrived to the morning briefing, I never expected to see what I saw. A helitac crew had been introduced into the Safety portion of the briefing with urgency. They held up a huge, well casted footprint that they had collected from the Northern edge of the fire. They stated that they “Don’t know what this is, and to keep an eye out as we don’t know it’s intentions are. And if any of you come into contact with what made this print, then contact the Incident Commander immediately.”
I thought, “You have got to be shitting me..”
As we started our shift that day, everything was normal. Im running my chainsaw, and prepping a road called Bear Valley Trail for the fire that is effectively moving straight for us. Right before lunch time rolls around, my Engine Boss taps me on my shoulder to stop my saw, as he had seen something “huge and black” moving around halfway up the hill on the side of Bear Valley Trail that I was cutting on. We stop cutting operations to assure our safety. My engine boss said he thought it was a moose it was so big. I never got to see anything, but i know for a fact that there are not any moose that far south..
Immediately after, our Task Force leader of our division comes up to us, and tells us to halt operations, and to head to basecamp to sleep. We are now informed to that we will be switching to the Nightshift. And for some reason, my gut sank. A gut feeling just saying DO NOT go back into those woods tonight.
What we experienced over the next 14 days of nightshift, was whoops, whistling, and the feeling of being watched constantly. and at the end of our 14 day operational period, we were forced to sign an extremely vague NDA. I have plenty of details for the entire 14 days but I’ll be sitting here all day typing.”