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Alisal Fire assignment brings deep pride to Wildland Firefighter from El Salvador

SANTA BARBARA CO., Calif. - A Wildland Firefighter with Los Padres National Forest took special stock in his assignment at the height of the Alisal Fire.

Engine Captain Eduardo Chacon and his crew were responsible for helping protect the Reagan Ranch at the top of Refugio Canyon.

(Los Padres National Forest/Temescal Station crew)

"It was a collective effort and I was really proud of that moment," Chacon told NewsChannel 3-12.

For five days, as the flames marched closer and the massive plume grew, Chacon and his Ventura County team scoured the property and applied a protective gel around the historic areas of the former Western White House.

Chacon, who was born in El Salvador, felt a deep sense of pride. After all, he said it was President Ronald Reagan who made it possible for him to be there in the first place, protecting that ranch.

"President Reagan had signed the Amnesty Law in 1986 and that's how I became a resident. I'm grateful for that because a lot of doors opened for me later on. And, I was able to become a citizen after I graduated high school which led to my career with the Forest Service."

Chacon was seven years old when his parents applied for U.S. residency after escaping the Salvadoran Civil War. He considered the Alisal Fire assignment at the Reagan Ranch coming "back in full circle."

The father of two shared that he imagined Rancho del Cielo just might be where President Reagan thought of writing that policy that changed his life and the lives of millions of others.

Captain Chacon and his crew are based at Los Padres National Forest Temescal fire station in Piru.

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3. To learn more about Beth, click here

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