Harold Rathbun loved the outdoors, whether he was hunting, horseback riding, cycling, scuba diving or even zooming around on a shiny Triumph motorcycle.
"He felt most at home in the woods," said his eldest daughter, Tanya Rathbun.
The Old fire forced Rathbun, 43, to leave his Crestline home with his wife, Krystal, on Oct. 25. The couple, who had been married only two months, went down the desert side of the mountain to stay with relatives in Phelan.
Late on the night of Nov. 1, Rathbun decided to hike around 30 miles of roadblocks and sheriff's checkpoints to see if the Crestline house and a Twin Peaks house he was moving into were still standing.
His body was found Nov. 5 under a bridge at Saw Pit Creek, about a third of the way up the mountain. The coroner's report says Rathbun suffered fatal injuries in a fall.
He had left Phelan in an agitated state, probably because he was feeling powerless in the face of the fires, his daughter said.
"We went to the place where he was found, and all agreed that the route he took was doable, even in the dark," Tanya Rathbun said. "Unfortunately, he didn't know how slick the rocks had become, and he slipped."
A licensed welding inspector, he was general manager at a steel construction firm in Bloomington.
"He was always so capable out there in the wilderness," said his ex-wife, Christine Rathbun.
Timothy Stewart, 27; Ministered to Youths
A youth pastor who played paintball and football with gusto, Timothy Stewart had stayed behind in his San Bernardino neighborhood Oct. 26 to water down houses and tape up other people's windows, said his wife, Cari Stewart.
The 27-year-old father of two had taken his gas-powered, surfboard-size scooter up to the house for one last look, when he fell and hit his head about half a mile from his home. After firefighters and relatives found him unconscious, he was transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he died a week later.
For the last year and a half, the Fontana native had been working as a network administrator at Pacific Clay Products in Lake Elsinore.
On Friday nights, Stewart ministered to 12- to 18-year-olds at Evangel Christian Fellowship of San Bernardino.
Stewart had inscribed his wife's and daughters' names on his right shoulder, under the tattoo of a bold cross wrapped in a banner. The banner also named his favorite biblical passage: Philippians 4:13.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," Cari Stewart recited.
"He lived his life like there was no tomorrow, basically," she said. "He didn't have a whole lot of fear or hold-backs."
Robert Taylor, 54; Custom Woodworker Lost Home
Robert Taylor loved working with his hands. He laid tile, fitted custom woodwork and built wine racks at restaurants across Southern California. A few months ago, he completed an oak-paneled kitchen in his San Bernardino home.
Taylor, 54, was working in Orange County when his daughter Trisha "Sissy" Mitchell saw the flames approaching on Oct. 25 and called to tell him. He returned to San Bernardino and they, along with her husband and children, fled to a relative's house in Lynwood.
They returned the next day to find Taylor's home destroyed.
He sadly surveyed the remains of his home, his tools and his Suzuki motorcycle.
"What can you do?" he told a Times reporter. "There's nothing to do but move on."
Still, Taylor walked over from his daughter's nearby house every day to check on the smoldering ruins. "He kept telling me, 'I'm going to take a walk, Sissy, and I'll be back,' " Mitchell said.
On Nov. 1, Taylor told his daughter that he wasn't feeling well and wanted to lie down. He suddenly started screaming, and Mitchell called an ambulance. He died at Arrowhead Regional Hospital of a heart attack or a stroke.
"More than likely, stress brought on the stroke or the heart attack," Mitchell said. "His blood pressure had just skyrocketed."
Mitchell cannot believe he is gone. "All I have left are his wallet, checkbook, keys, tape measure and a watch and the clothes he wore the day of the fire."
Chad Williams, 70; Retired Firefighter Hard to Rattle
In his 28 years with the San Bernardino City Fire Department, Chad Williams never got flustered, colleagues said. He handled a wild commercial blaze with the same composure as a much smaller fire.
"His voice was never raised," said Howard Bennett, a battalion chief at the city's central fire station, who worked with Williams before he retired. "He told you what he needed done and we kind of did it. That kind of calm is contagious."
On Oct. 25, Williams, 70, was loading his car as the Old fire crept toward his Crestline neighborhood. He suffered a heart attack and died en route to the hospital.
"I'm sure it was the stress involved, and he didn't slow down," said his wife, Ginger Williams. "It was too much for his heart."
The couple moved to Crestline when Williams retired from the Fire Department about 10 years ago.
The Williamses volunteered at Mary's Mercy Center in San Bernardino, a shelter for the poor. Chad took care of the electrical and plumbing problems at the center and volunteered to give out meals and gifts at Christmas.
"He was kind of quiet, but when he said things, it was profound and you got it, or it was funny and you laughed your head off," Ginger Williams said.
Times staff writers Allison Hoffman and Lance Pugmire contributed to this report.