Documentary about the 1977 Honda Canyon Fire accepted at film festivals

Four firefighters were killed on the fire at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California

Firestorm 77

A documentary film about the 1977 Honda Canyon Fire that killed four people and injured 65 on Vandenberg Air Force Base has been accepted at multiple film festivals. It is  based on the book by Joseph N. Valencia titled Beyond Tranquillon Ridge.

The film, titled Firestorm 77, is available for streaming at the Malibu International Film Festival now. It will also be streaming at the Big Bear Film Summit in Big Bear, California June 11-27).

More information is at the film’s Facebook page.

Mr. Valencia, one of the first firefighters on the fire, served as a technical consultant on the documentary which is adapted from the book.

Here is how Mr. Valencia described the fire to us in an email:

A combination of hurricane-force winds and the snapping of an electrical pole starts the Honda Canyon Fire on Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, early in the morning of December 20, 1977. Over a thousand people consisting of professional firemen and military personnel fight the fire. Outlier winds would increase to over a hundred miles per hour, making the firefight almost impossible. Four fatalities and sixty-five injuries resulted. Ten-thousand acres burn, resulting in significant damage to the military installation infrastructure. Ironically and fortuitously, the fire will be out, a little more than 30 hours later, due to a rain storm-front coming in.

Others working on the film included producer Dennis R. Ford and Christopher Hite, Director of Photography and Cinematographer. Mr. Ford was one of the firefighters on the fire.

The fatalities in 1977 included the Base Commander Colonel Joseph Turner, Fire Chief Billy Bell, Assistant Fire Chief Eugene Cooper, and Heavy Equipment Operator Clarence McCauley.

Below is a two-page brochure about the film:

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”Firestorm ’77 documentary film brochure”]

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

3 thoughts on “Documentary about the 1977 Honda Canyon Fire accepted at film festivals”

  1. As I won’t be in any of those places, will this documentary be available for sale?


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