The death head or death’s head is a representation of a human skull, especially when used as an
emblem of death.The death head has been used by cultures from around the world for thousands of
years as a symbolic representation of death in the abstract. But the death head has also been used in
defiance of death and a symbol of mortality or as a warning sign of danger.
These are the reasons that I think the logo I adapted from a U.S. Forest Service training film, “Wildfire:
Standards for Survival” should be adopted nationwide by all hotshot crews as a common logo. Of
course, I don’t think the Death Head IHC Logo should replace the individual crew logos that have set
them apart from every other hotshot crew because every logo represents something unique about each
crew and how they self-identify. And I’m sure that each crew has a colorful story about how and why
they chose their logo.
No...I just think the Death Head IHC Logo should be adopted as a through line that unites all hotshot
crews with a single and unifying message that “Safety First” isn’t just a slogan and aren’t just buzz
words handed down from the Head Shed. The Death Head IHC Logo will serve as an ever present and
powerful reminder every time a hotshot looks at it of their own mortality and as a warning sign of danger
to all of the young men and women on our hotshot crews today that life is fleeting, in spite of the fact
that most of them think they are invincible just as I once did. In addition to the fact that it’s a bitchin’
looking logo…am I right?
So…who exactly are the Death Head Hotshots? Well as of right now, the official roster of the crew is
comprised of 43 former hotshots from four other crews. Although since it is a mock hotshot crew,
anybody can be an honorary member if they are concerned about or interested in helping to prevent
additional deaths of firefighters while fighting wildfires in the future. But to be a made member of this
crew you must first be a hotshot, and then be burned to death on a wildfire. The price you have pay to
earn a position on the Death Head IHC is very high indeed...especially for those who love you the most.
The current full-time members of the Death Head IHC include 12 former El Cariso Hotshots, 3
former Mormon Lake Hotshots, 9 former Prineville Hotshots, and 19 former Granite Mountain Hotshots.
The real question should be, who is going to be inducted as full-time members into the Death Head
Interagency Hotshot Crew next? Because as you know, once is an anomaly, twice is a coincidence, but
three times is a pattern. And I remain on high alert for the next hotshot crew burn over. So…