Most Viewed Stories
T-shirt shops sprout at wildfire sites
Marc Hunter is studying criminal justice at the University of California, Irvine.
But for the last few days, he is been an entrepreneur with thoughts of going into firefighting.
"My father told me about this business," said Hunter, who is a partner with his three brothers in the Four Brothers Apparel firm out of Fresno.
The business is selling T-shirts and other apparel at various wildfires — a true cottage industry that has grown over the last two decades.
That is when Arlene Ascherin of Redding first got involved — 1995.
"I've done as many as 12 in a year. That was the year of the Trough Fire," said Ascherin, who grew up in the Red Bluff area.
The 2001 Trough Fire, like the Mill Fire where she was at this week, was located near Stonyford.
She has grown to appreciate what the fire crews and the support teams do, and never more so than when she and other vendors were threatened by a wildfire that blew right into the command area.
"They threw a (containment) line right around us," Ascherin said.
The Mill Fire is the first for Hunter, and watching the hustle and bustle of the command center across the street has made the 22-year-old student think he might want to be a firefighter instead.
But he quickly lets the thought pass.
However, he will likely stay with the family business, although it is likely one of his brothers will have to manage it.
Nickie Burley and her daughter, Shona Hurlburt, are quite familiar with the T-shirt business. They are the owners of Cali.Girls in Willows.
But this week was the first time they took their business to a fire — and they were the first to set up shop.
"We came up here (July 9) to check it out, and started hauling things up here on (July 10)," Burley said.
They said because they really don't have any other experience to relate it to, they believe business has been simply awesome.
But more than that, they have enjoyed hearing the stories of where all the firefighters come from — even one as far a way as Hawaii.
"I offered to baby-sit for them," Hurlburt said.
And the crews have been as friendlier than they ever expected.
"I called up my kids and grandkids and they took us over to the heli-pad and we were able to take pictures," Hurlburt said.
And while Ascherin and the Cali.Girls are familiar with the area, Stonyford was a bit of a culture shock for Hunter, who is from Fresno and goes to school in Southern California.
"It is a small town," he said, "but it's cool."