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CDF Registry Record


Welcome to my CDF/Cal Fire Registry History Page. My name is Steven   Nettleton , and this is a short Historical perspective of my time with the organization.  My Training, Assignments, Calls, Incidents and Adventures that I recall as vivid memories.   My co-workers and friends often called me .

My First Assignment with CDF began in : 1980.   

Assigned Work Locations :  

-Stationed at Cayucos (1 tour) and Las Tablas (2 tours of duty).

-1980 thru 1982.

-Seasonal Firefighter.

-Previous experience with the YCC (Youth Conservation Corp).

-College Student, Humboldt State University, Arcata, Ca., Forestry Management. 

-I associated closely with Cambria and back-up/assisted all other stations in the unit and some neighboring units (Fresno-Kings, San Benito-Monterey, contract Kern County, and contract Santa Barbara County).


Favorite Assignments :  

I loved working everywhere!  I did choose to work close to home, however, I was accepted to the Northern California ranger units as well.  It was cool running on the Cayucos State Beach in our Nomex uniforms.  We would respond to calls from a constant 70-degrees high humidity environment to 106-degrees plus hot & dry environments within a 3-mile distance.   My captain was an experienced Los Angeles city fireman with many stories.  We had a great crew!  We had beach “bums” to serious college students on our team, and no fire got away from us.  Our superiors would give us the toughest tasks — job done so they could concentrate on the other parts of the fire!  We were the 4-wheelers…

The same applied to the Las Tablas crew, except the captain was a “big bike” motorcycle enthusiast.  His big bike could handle all of the country roads in style.  He had a terrific work ethic, and he helped supply me with advice/equipment to perform a complete body repair/painting of my car during off-duty hours.


Most Interesting Calls :  

Laying a speedy team hose line up the side of a steep, rugged slope in the coastal Santa Lucia mountain range near the San Luis Obispo / Monterey county line was one of my most memorable events.  We prevented a major fire by cutting off the hot spot in dense brushy habitat that led to woodland and coniferous forest.  This fire could have spread north to the southern Coastal Redwood groves.  Small groves of Sequoia Sempervirens, the tallest trees in the world, can be found near the southern Monterey county line.  The Southern Redwood Botanical Area (2005) now protects this southernmost stand of natural redwood trees.  Our 4-wheel drive crew assisted the U.S. Forest Service in stopping a potentially destructive fire.  The fire made a run, and we aggressively attacked it.  The recent fires in Yosemite N.P. caused me to flashback about this event.  Great effort was made to protect the Sequoiadendron Giganteum Redwood trees on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  This is a good example of mutual cooperation with the U.S.F.S.  The redwoods and diverse surrounding ecosystems were preserved until more direct and specialized management of these precious living national resources could be realized via the Southern Redwood Special Interest Area.


My thoughts about my time with CDF and some Comments for those considering  joining  CDF/Cal Fire :  

Great Comradery!

Good People!

Outstanding Leaders!

Experience of a Lifetime!

I would work there again.  I would have retired from the CDF had the permanent, year-round wildland firefighter position been in-place at that time.

Must Do Checklist:  If your travels take you to New Mexico, America’s Land of Enchantment, then make sure you visit the Smokey Bear Historical Park ( in Capitan, New Mexico.

My training with the CDF prepared me for a career in the Air Force, having been exposed to aviation, I retired in the USAF Reserves (10-years active duty) trained in fighter jet avionics.  A firefighter never forgets the sensation of a burn-over as an air tanker flies just tens of feet above you while on a ridgeline, and the sun goes pitch-dark with red-hot embers circling around you as you hit the ground, face down with arms crossed in front and burning (minor).  FIREFIGHTING IS WAR AT TIMES!