2023 FHFF Director Series "Best of the Fest"


Expired January 15, 2022 7:45 AM
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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.

In the course of events, a conflict of cultures emerged. Military commanders, fearful of the Base’s cold war secrets being compromised, attempted to control the protocols and procedures of the civilian firefighters called upon to battle the enormous blaze, offering up their own untrained personnel to fight a conflagration that, for all intents and purposes, should have never been fought and couldn’t be beaten.

Four fatalities and sixty-five injuries result. Almost 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 an incoming Pacific rainstorm. The Air Force quickly declares it a victory, a battle won by its brave Airmen. However, those who were there will tell you a different story.

Firestorm ’77 recounts the confusion and chaos of December 1977 as told by those that were there on the front lines.






Friday Harbor Film Festival thanks Terry Lush SJ Business Park for sponsoring this film.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    54 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Chris Hite
  • Screenwriter
    Joseph Valencia, Dennis Ford
  • Producer
    Dennis R. Ford, Joseph Valencia, Glenn Fuss
  • Executive Producer
    Dennis Ford
  • Cast
    Joseph Valencia, Dennis R. Ford
  • Cinematographer
    Chris Hite, Curtis Yap
  • Editor
    Dennis Ford, Chris Hite, Curtis Yap