USDA Forest Service

Angeles National Forest


Texas Canyon Hotshots
31250 Bouquet Canyon Rd.
Saugus, CA  91390

Texas Canyon Hotshots


The Texas Canyon Hotshot Crew, located on the outskirts of the Santa Clarita Valley, was established in 1954 as a fire suppression and project crew.  Early maps indicate that in 1926, the Texas Canyon Guard Station and three other Forest Fire Guard Stations were in service on the Saugus District of the Angeles National Forest.  The Texas Canyon Guard Station and Hotshot Crew were named after Texas Canyon, a tributary to Bouquet Canyon located approximately two miles south of the station. In the late 1860’s two brothers settled a homestead on a parcel of land in an unnamed canyon, where they ran cattle and did a little prospecting. The brothers, feeling homesick, named their canyon homestead Texas Canyon after their home state.

In the 1950’s, the U.S. Forest Service received an Army Corps of Engineers contract for a stabilization and drainage project on a road under construction to the Nike Missile base at Los Pinetos (LA County Camp 9). Dick Dorn, who was superintendent of the Texas Canyon Hotshots at the time, was charged with obtaining additional manpower. Rather than hire locals, Dorn opted to recruit Native Americans from the Zuni Indian Reservation in New Mexico. In addition to performing this project work, the Zunis served as firefighters on the Texas Canyon Hotshots. The Zuni tribal symbol of the Knife Wing Kachina, also known as the Zuni Bird, became the official symbol of the Texas Canyon Hotshots during this time. Dick Dorn reported that one of the Zunis would sketch the symbol onto the hardhats and another would hand-paint the symbol in fine detail. Zuni Indians served as firefighters with Texas Canyon until the 1977 fire season.

Longtime superintendent Ron Smith started his career on the Texas Canyon Hotshots in 1957. He served as the superintendent from 1975 until his retirement on the Marre Fire in 1993. John Thomas served as a crewman in 1977, foreman from 1984 to 1993 and superintendent from 1993 to 2002. John Armstrong served as foreman from 1990 to 2002 and has served as superintendent since 2002.

Crew Superintendents:

Ed Kolchowski            1954-1956

Dick Dorn                    1956-1958

Bob Alvord                  1958-1961

Leoroy Hubenak          1961-1963

Bill Harper                   1964-1972

Ray Guardado              1972-1975

Ron Smith                    1975-1993

John Thomas                1993-2002

John Armstrong             5/02-Present