Saturday’s 8th annual Fireman’s Muster at Hoo Hoo Park in McCloud was a competition for area fire departments, but it was more about camaraderie and community.
CAL FIRE took first place and will have its name added to the Muster’s perpetual trophy, but CAL FIRE gave the homemade trophy that came with the victory to the McCloud Explorers to keep in their fire hall until the next Muster.
CAL FIRE Fire Captain Michael McWilliams, who has been on the force for 20 years, said the Musters foster good working relationships with the different agencies.
“It is the communities coming together and having fun,” said Brian Murphy of the McCloud Forest Service Fire Department. “When we see these other agencies out in the field, we have something to share and laugh about. Having these Musters are a good way to get together and get to know other agencies.”
Joining CAL FIRE in the competitions were the US Forest Service Ash Creek and McCloud stations, Orland and Dunsmuir Fire Departments and McCloud Volunteer Fire Department, which hosted the event.
Firefighters spent the day spraying water from the high pressured hoses at targets, running in heavy turnout gear, rolling or unrolling hoses, and climbing through obstacles.
The teams supported and helped each other through the drills.
Firefighters from other agencies and people from the community watched and cheered, got wet and enjoyed food under the awnings.
Raffles and auctions were held during the day, followed by a buffet tri tip dinner and a community dance in the evening. Orland Fire Department and Dunsmuir Fire Department teamed up to compete together.
District 1 Supervisor Brandon Criss, who is a volunteer firefighter, competed with the McCloud Explorers on some of the drills.
The Midnight Alarm drill has teams compete against time to get into their turnout gear. CAL FIRE took first place with the fastest time.
CAL FIRE also placed first in the Barrel Roll, Bucket Brigade and in the newly introduced Obstacle Relay.
McCloud Volunteer Fire Department took first place in Make a Line, doing it in 1.05 minutes. They also placed first in the Wet Line Extension.
The McCloud Explorers placed first in the Hose Roll.
“The explorers are our future fire department,” said Eric Dyck of Mount Shasta Fire Department, who was there as a spectator and bought lunch for the Explorers at the food booth.
Ryan Schmitz of the USFS Ash Creek station said, “I became a firefighter because I enjoy helping people and the camaraderie we have within the department. These events bring us closer and we get to know our neighboring agencies.”
In his first season, 23 year old Evan Francis McKernon said, “I see these Musters build unity and bonding, like when Dylan lost the hose which he will get a lot of teasing from, but this makes for good camaraderie and memories when we work together and help each other.”