PACOIMA (CBSLA) — The videos are stunning and have racked up thousands of views on social media, but who’s the person behind those bird’s-eye images?
Meet Michael Dubron, a 28-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Fire Department who spends his days in a helicopter supporting the firefight from above.
VIDEO: @LACoFireAirOps Firehawk helicopters fighting wildfire on three fronts. This one earlier in Castaic, CA. Managed as Branch X of the #TickFire @LACoFDPIO (media ok to use with credit) pic.twitter.com/22jK4yphUJ
— LACoFireAirOps (@LACoFireAirOps) October 25, 2019
Dubron, a firefighter-paramedic, has spent most of his career in a helicopter and got the idea to bring a camera along to show the public what firefighters see as they’re protecting people and property.
“I hope when people see the videos that we — it’s just not me, it’s we as a unit — put out there and share with folks that they understand what happens during a situation like this whether it’s a fire or a rescue call,” he said.
The videos often get tens of thousands of views and bring in countless comments from across the world.
“It’s times when we do stop the blades and sit down on the ground for a second and maybe catch our breath and we see the comments, it’s very rewarding,” he said.
While battling the Tick Fire on Thursday, the helicopter team’s heroics were captured by Sky2 as water drops saved countless homes.
“I did hear from a coworker who is a member of our department,” Dubron said. “I didn’t know it at the time, but apparently his home yesterday was saved.”
But Dubron’s mission extends beyond saving lives and homes on the ground. He’s also fighting to save the lives of the men and women in yellow who are at a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer.
“I was given a one-to-three-year prognosis to survive,” Dubron said of his own diagnosis. “I now live my life in remission.”
Dubron started the Firefighter Cancer Support Network in 2005 to help those who have been diagnosed, as well as their families, and educate those in the field on how to reduce their exposure to carcinogens.
“And also create a culture change in the fire service on how we can become more proactive about cancer,” he said.
And while Dubron was happy his videos were helping the department connect with people, he said that none of it would be possible without the team of people who service and fuel the choppers to keep those inside safe.