by Katy Tahja

Comptche, a small logging community east of Mendocino, did not have a fire department until 1964. After several devastating fires in the early 1960s, the self-sufficient residents decided to take protection into their own hands. This group of volunteers is now a centerpiece of the town, strongly supported by their neighbors. Black-and-white photos show the department in action, as well as enjoying their annual chicken barbecue fundraiser.

Mendocino Historical Review XXVII, 2014.