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High School atheist David Hobbs leaves for college in Calif. and his dream job with the U.S. Forest Service.
When high school atheist David Hobbs leaves Ohio for college in calif. and his dream job with the U.S. Forest service, he finds his dreams met, with 4 summers with a helicopter, 2 years on a tanker, and 2 years on an elite hotshot crew. But he also falls into the drug craze sweeping the country, struggles with love, can't seem to find where he fits in and how this puzzle of life all fits together.
"We had just reached a point opposite the top of the [slash] block when the fire suddenly came roaring across the block in a rushing wall of flames. The wind generated by the fire was like a hurricane, blowing the flames in a straight line toward the forest and right at us. They hit the forest at the edge of the block like a crashing wave hitting the rocky shore. The first row of trees burst into flames with a roar. The whole crew up and down the line cried out, turned tail and ran.â€ (Year 4â€”"Lake of Fireâ€)
David Hobbs came to California from Ohio in 1965 to major in forestry at Humboldt State College to prepare for his dream job as Forest Ranger with the U.S. Forest Service. Instead, after seven years, he graduated with a double major in music and political science. Even then he wanted to be a writer, publishing in the campus literary magazine and self-publishing his first book, a fictional memoir called Waiting for the Dawn.
While in college, he fell in with the drug-scene just then starting to sweep the nation and was among the first group of college students busted for drugs at Humboldt. He spent the "Summer of Loveâ€ (1967) living in Berkeley.
He paid his way through college by fighting fires for the Forest Service, mostly in the Klamath National Forest, working eight seasons in all. He spent four years on a helicopter crew, two years on ground-tanker crews and the final two years on the Rogue River Hotshot crew in Southern Oregon.
After experiencing a religious conversion in his last year in Oregon, he moved to the Yuba City area in September of 1974 where he lived in a communal Christian ministry for five years. While working for his room and board plus four dollars a week, he was able to experience what Christian family meant. When the ministry disbanded in 1980, he worked at various jobs, eventually married, raised three children and started a house-painting business.
Not wanting to forget the unusual story of how, during his fire-fighting days, he had changed from strong atheist to born-again Christian, David began his memoir, Out of the Fire, in December of 1989 while at a seminary in Massachusetts. It was finally completed and published in July of 2006 by 4L Press, a publishing company he started.
At present, David is pursuing his passion of developing a deeper relationship with God through prayer. Toward this end, he has been working on another book of teachings and journal entries about some of his supernatural experiences with God in prayer.
Out of the Fire
By JOHN DIEHM
Siskiyou Daily News Staff Writer
Published: Friday, September 22, 2006
YREKA â€” "Out of the Fireâ€ is an appropriate name for the autobiography of David Hobbs, a man who spent most of his life fighting forest fires in and around Siskiyou County and the fire of atheism before coming to God.
The book is filled with colorful experiences, giving a glimpse of his life and insight into the adventure and risk of fire fighting. Hobbs worked for years as a crewman on a fire fighting helicopter team and on the elite Rogue River Hotshots, articulating the perspective of a firefighter working next to the flames.
His gift for writing keeps the reader engaged in the book that tells not only the story of his life but also the perspective of a man in the process of change.
Hobbs said he was motivated to write the book when he realized that the things that happened to him were "extraordinaryâ€ and a story that needed to be told.
He started the book in 1989 while spending a year in Massachusetts and realizing that the people there had a different culture and perspective on life and no concept of life in the forests on the west coast. "The book is valuable in sharing the perspective of someone living and working in the forest as a fire fighter,â€ he said.
Hobbs said in his life he had to work through a lot of things but always had a job and family. In his book he describes how he met the Lord in 1974, ending the story of his life in Yuba City where he lived in a Christian commune for 5 years.
"I had no moral standard; I just did what felt good,â€ he said. "I had to learn a lot of things the hard way. I hope that others would learn and avoid some of those mistakes.â€
Hobbs said that in his high school year book he was called "the atheist.â€
"The essence of the book is how I was changed from a strong evangelistic atheist to a born again Christian,â€ Hobbs said. "To me Christianity was always a controversial thing. I had no intention of becoming a Christian. How it happened is the story of the book, with a lot of other experiences thrown in.â€
In talking about his book, Hobbs said, "Finding your way through life, your place in life, is the most important part of the book. The most important thing for any of us is where we fit in at the end of our life. Yes, I found my purpose and did what I was supposed to do.â€
Hobbs said he found that his purpose was to live for God, to know Him and find His will for his life rather than his own will. "It is remarkable how that came about,â€ he said.
"My experience and fires up here, and the people I met, was really life changing,â€ he said. "I was stationed in Yreka for two summers with the helicopter. Some of the people I write about are still alive.â€
Describing his book, Hobbs said that it is an adventure story for young people who are interested in adventure and danger. "It is amazing how many near death experiences I have had and seen,â€ he said.
"I have a website and have been hearing from people all over the country who order the book and tell me their stories,â€ he said.
Hobbs said that publishing this book is scary, because it contains intimate stories never before shared with a living soul, now being broadcast to the world.
"But itâ€™s a story that needs to be told,â€ he said. "Each one of us is sent out into the world with very little instruction on how to live this life weâ€™ve been given. We all know people who have destroyed their lives and wasted their potential; but how about us? How can we live our lives in such a way that when itâ€™s over we will look back with joy on a well-lived life, instead of in regret at a misspent life of failure? And, unfortunately, life doesnâ€™t come with a REWIND button.
"I found the answer to all I was looking for and more after searching for years in all the wrong places. Though everyone must find it for themselves, it is my hope that my story will at least steer some in the right direction.
Book Publisher: 4L Press
No. of Pages: 382
Paper Weight (lb): 50 lb
Illustrations (B&W): 21
Illustrations (Color): 4