The Aero-Bomberos of Buenaventura

A tiny LZ in city park. Trecherous 45-knot winds. Blowing debris and embers. And still, this guy lands on a dime, takes on fuel, takes on water, and heads off to make water drops on the fire less than two miles from this spot. We sat and watched this scene at Ventura Community Park for probably half an hour. Two helicopters were bombing the fire in this division area, each making a drop every five minutes.

There was not a single firefighter on the lines of the Thomas fire without gigantic cojones, especially on this first morning when it felt like absolutely nothing could stop this hell-beast from burning the entire county, or the state. But the people with the biggest ones of all were the men and women making air drops from helicopters in conditions that kept fixed-wing bombers on the ground.