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A day in the life of volunteer Fire Chief Steve Baxman

Monte Rio Volunteer Fire Chief Steve Baxman ready for action

Just over 100 miles north of San Francisco, residents of Lower Lake are cleaning up their devastated community. The Clayton Fire, a suspected arson, destroyed nearly 300 structures. It’s the second time in less than a year that people living in Lake County have suffered from a blaze.

STEVE BAXMAN: It really gets to me to think about what the whole county is going through. The people losing their houses. The county losing its tax base. What it does to a county--just turns it upside down, and sometimes it takes a long time to recover.

Steve Baxman is fire chief in Monte Rio, a small Sonoma County town. Last September 12th, when the Valley Fire started, he was an early responder.

Chief Steve Baxter is on call all day, every day. KALW’s Rhian Miller tagged along with him one day, while he made his rounds, and recorded the sounds. Let’s take a listen, starting with a tour of the Monte Rio fire station.


This piece first aired on October 28, 2014.