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Heroes 1996: Jacob, Justin and Phil Brollier

Firefighting family


In 1996, Phil Brollier and his two sons Jacob and Justin spent their summer not crowded into the family sedan on a cross-country drive to see the world's biggest ball of yarn, but jumping out of planes and hacking and cutting their way through burning trees fighting forest fires.

During the off-season, Phil worked hard to keep the business his father started, Brollier Insurance, up and running. With the help of his longtime companion Cher, the business is in the black and after a five-year hiatus, Brollier senior is back out in the wilderness, this time as an Incident Commander--the guy in charge of making sure everyone works together and follows the rules and regulations.

Phil says it's a little overwhelming at times, but he felt it was important to get back on the job while he still can. He feels his age--57, but who's counting?--catching up with him and wants to do everything possible as long as possible. Jacob is currently working at an insurance agency in Nampa and Justin has moved from "hot-shot"--the first wave of ground attack on a fire--to "smoke-jumper" leaping out of airplanes into the heart of the heat. He's quite the maverick--so much so that a team of French filmmakers has been following him around the Las Vegas area on and off the fires. Whether it's because he pronounces his last name "Brawl-yay" instead of "Brawl-yer" like his brother and father, thereby giving it a very Parisian feel or if it's just a coincidence remains to be seen. What we do know is that Phil will now be following in his son Justin's footsteps and see if, in spite of his age, he too can take up smokejumping again.