Wildland firefighter to compete in Winter Olympics

Robby Burns — parallel giant slalom

Robby Burns firefighters Olympics snowboarder
Robby Burns photo, posted Jan. 28, 2020.

A wildland firefighter will be competing in the Winter Olympics in China. Robby Burns grew up near Mount Shasta, California and has been a professional snowboarder for the last five years. He was a lead firefighter on the Shasta Lake Interagency Hotshots from 2013 to 2015. This past summer, he worked on an engine crew assigned to the Dixie Fire, Salmon River Complex, Corral Complex, Forks Complex, Mad River Complex, and Gasquet Complex. According to the US Forest Service, Mr. Burns recently accepted a position on the Shasta Lake Interagency Hotshot Crew.

“Robby was an integral part of the success of the crew,” said Joe Bogdan, Shasta Lake IHC superintendent. “We deeply respect the sacrifices he has made and his discipline to achieve his goals. We created lifelong and battled-tested relationships through our time working together.”

Robby Burns firefighters Olympics snowboarder
Robby Burns (on right), posted Sept. 15, 2021. Robby Burns photo.

On his website he describes himself as “snowboarder, firefighter, speaker.”

The 31-year old will be competing in the Parallel Giant Slalom event February 7th PT. Qualifications begin at 7 p.m. PT with the subsequent races continuing through the night, U.S. time. (Update Monday Feb, 7: NBC is showing the event starts Monday at 9:40 p.m. ET, 6:40 p.m. PT. Times are subject to change due to weather and other factors.)

When he leaves the starting gate in Beijing, he will be wearing his Shasta Lake IHC buckle, which he earned after completing his third season on the crew.

In January of 2020 Mr. Burns finished first in the Nor-Am Cup Parallel Giant Slalom race in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

In November he sustained a leg injury after falling when he was training in Northern Canada. It put him on crutches and resulted in him missing the first stop of the World Cup tour in Russia.

On November 30, 2021 he wrote on his Facebook page, “Yesterday I made it from two crutches to one! Feels like I just graduated kindergarten! While it was a scary injury to my knee, the pictures say all the real important stuff still works good. With 2 weeks of intense PT the doc says he thinks I’ll be right as rain. So, while the “ship” isn’t moving at full speed, I’ll be moving full speed at this snail pace for a little while. But I’m in the best place to do this work. And sometimes life has a way of telling us to slow down.”

About 16 days after writing he was on one crutch, he competed in a World Cup snowboarding event in Carezza, Italy finishing 42nd of the 70 who qualified. Mr. Burns appeared in two more races in Europe in January finishing 43rd and 53rd. Currently he is ranked 30th in the FIS Snowboard Points List.

Robby Burns firefighters Olympics snowboarder
Robby Burns, photo, posted Jan. 21, 2022.
Robby Burns firefighters Olympics snowboarder
Robby Burns at the Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Robby Burns photo, posted Feb. 4, 2022.

In 2014 another member of the Shasta Lake Hotshots was mentioned on the pages of Wildfire Today when Steven Woodlief bought a $2 ticket in the California state lottery and won $1.3 million, $1,000 a week for life. At the time Mr. Woodlief said he would buy a new truck.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Jim and Kevin.

California Hotshot wins $1.3 million in lottery

Steven Woodlief
Steven Woodlief. Photo by California Lottery.

A U.S. Forest Service firefighter in California won $1,000 a week for the next 25 years of his life in the state lottery. Steven Woodlief, a member of the Shasta Lake Hotshots based in Lakehead. California 20 miles north of Redding, has not said if he is going to retire, or continue to fight fire. But he did mention buying a new truck.

Below is an article from the lottery commission:


U.S. Forest Service Firefighter’s Blazing Hot Luck Leads to $1.3 Million Win in Shasta County!

It’s grueling and dangerous – yet it’s an exceptionally rewarding line of work. But talk about exhausting! That’s why nobody can blame Steven Woodlief for “lying in bed all day” during his time off from the fire house on Wednesday.

Little did the 24-year-old U.S. Forest Service firefighter from Shasta County know he would wake up and become a millionaire. Not a dream this time! “First I went to my nephew’s Tee Ball game, and then I went to the gas station to cash in $15 worth of Scratchers® I had in my pocket.”

Woodlief (who is a member of the elite Shasta Lake Hotshots firefighter crew based out of Redding) decided he would take his $15 in “found money” and invest it in a few more $2 California Lucky Life tickets. After his purchase, he said he drove over to his parents’ house and started scratching away. “I saw ‘LIFE’ in the square and told my dad that I thought I won. He took it from me and started reading back and forth making sure it was ‘legit!’ From there I was nervous and in shock!” the Anderson resident remembered with a laugh.

Who can blame him? By uncovering the “LIFE” logo, Woodlief won $1,000 every single week for the next 25 years of his life! That’s a grand total of $1.3 million before Uncle Sam gets his cut. This young firefighter actually thought it might be his lucky day after he started scratching his small stash of tickets and immediately won a free $2 game. From there it got better. Much, much better!

“I took it (the $1.3 million winner) back to the gas station where I bought it to make sure it was ‘legit.’ We scanned it into their little scanner and it came out ‘give funds: one million, three hundred thousand dollars.’ He (the clerk) was jumping up and down for me. We know him. He’s a high school student and he was just jumping for joy!” Woodlief recalled.

Speaking of the retailer – Gas Point Market, which is located at 19980 Gas Point Road in Cottonwood – gets to cash in on the big win as well. As a bonus for selling the $1.3 million ticket, Gas Point Market receives a very sweet $6,500 in cash.

Woodlief has already decided he’ll be buying a new truck with his winnings, while possibly investing the rest. “I don’t have a for sure plan at all. I’m still in shock. I’m just staring at the (jumbo) check right now. It’s amazing.” “