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May God Bless Our Firefighters!
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So...here we are in June...long before forest fires should impact the South West and we have already lost 19.   Pray or send thoughts of safety to see our Firefighters through the summer months before us.  

 

Thank you.

 

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Edited by GottaSki
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Such sad news this morning. This has been such a bad year already for forest fires. So much destruction and now this tragic loss. Firefighters, many of them volunteers, are true heros.

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Gotta Ski,

 

Did you know these young men?  My cousin's son trained with these guys, clearing trails as a teen this past few summers.  He hoped to become a hot shot, since his Dad's a Federal Firefighter in Prescott.  His own mother fought forest fires, but has since moved to another branch of the Forest Service.  My heart goes out to their families and friends!  

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I never realized until I moved West how much we depend on these heros to keep us safe. We have a Hotshot crew just to the north of us and I know some of them personally. I have to say (in a loving way) that these guys are NUTS! They put their lives on the line every day! You never know in a drought-stricken area such as this, when a fire will start and blow up into a raging inferno. Even in the dead of winter it happens. And they LOVE their work!

 

Where I came from back in New England, firefighters are heros too, but even though they risk their lives going into burning buildings, it's just not the same as what these guys do. Believe me, I am not disparaging Eastern firefighters at all - I WAS one. My Dad was one. My grandfather was a charter member of the volunteer department in the town I grew up in. We all did what we did because it was the right thing to do. We wanted to help people.

 

But these guys who go out into a blazing forest with shovels and chainsaws and heavy backpacks in terrain so rough most of us wouldn't be able to walk it on a cool comfortable day are a whole different breed. They are competitave with other crews and they actually look forward to fighting fires so they can show off their skills.

 

Yes, they really ARE nuts, and I love and respect them more than any other group of people anywhere.

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Gotta Ski,

 

Did you know these young men?  My cousin's son trained with these guys, clearing trails as a teen this past few summers.  He hoped to become a hot shot, since his Dad's a Federal Firefighter in Prescott.  His own mother fought forest fires, but has since moved to another branch of the Forest Service.  My heart goes out to their families and friends!  

 

Not this crew...but I know many firefighters thru my volunteer work with CERT....and Bartie is right...these guys that fight fire in crazy terrain are a breed all their own....I've met a few and I think of them today -- well every time I hear of wild fire...but today I am heartbroken for this crew's family, friends and other firefighters on the line.

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I struggle to understand why we send young men into a forest fire that has become so bad that this ends up happening.  Fire storms are a risk and rarely does anyone escape them.

I could see if someone was hanging out of a window, in a fully engulfed home and someone took the risk to save them.  But when forest fires get this bad, enough already.....do not put youngsters in such danger and yes, they were youngsters.  Let's face it...many of these guys work on pure adrenaline and they don't always make the best decisions.  I don't care how "highly trained" they are....they were all kids. Young 20 somethings.  We lost this talent to a forest fire????????  :(

 

Many will not understand my attitude but I think we have driven firefighters to new heights of conduct that don't work well.  The forest just isn't worth the risk of losing this many guy's that are at the very start of there lives and careers.  There are other ways of combating a fire without such human risk involved and if there isn't for that particular fire...let it burn. I think it's better to watch the forest burn than be a dead hero.  I don't even care if people's houses burn down, as long as they have time to escape.  You can rebuild anything but you can't get that life back.  I can't even begin to imagine how their families are coping with this.

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Gemini, the problem is too many people have built their homes in deep forest and have not followed "fire safe" procedures. They don't clear away all of the trees from around their homes, they let pine needles build up in their gutters, the grass is too tall, and they insist on using conventional materials to build - wood and asphalt shingles.

 

Granted, NO home is really safe from fires like these, but if everyone in a neighborhood would do as they have been instructed, the neighborhood would be much safer. But if, like a friend of mine who lives in one of these housing developments in the deep woods, your neighbors let the trees and grass grow up around their homes, no one nearby will be safe no matter what they do.

 

And the reason these firefighters go in and try to save these homes is that even under mandatory evacuation orders, there is always someone who didn't hear the knock on the door or the phone call. And then there are always those who decide to stay anyway. OR, like the gentleman in the news reports today who lost his home, the fire suddenly shifts direction and no one has time to evacuate.

 

These guys DO try to save homes but if their own lives are in danger, they are taught that they must let those homes burn. But when there are LIVES to save, they will gladly risk their own. In the case of the Hot Shots who were lost yesterday, it was just one of those things - the wind shifted and suddenly the place they were standing which HAD been perfectly safe, became an inferno within seconds.  

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Also, what happened last year in Colorado Springs - wildfire spreading right into the "city" - would happen everywhere there were a forest fire if these guys just let it burn. In 2007 a wildfire almost took out the entire town I live in. As it was, 33 families lost their homes and one man lost his life. They had already started evacuating the elderly residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities and were ten minutes away from issuing evacuation orders for the entire town when the wind shifted and the fire started burning in the other direction. If the wind HADN'T shifted, I know many more people would have been killed. You just can't move 4,000 people, many of them elderly or disabled (this is a retirement town with the biggest VA hospital and vets home in the region) as quickly as they would have needed to be moved.  

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Any firefighter is at risk on any given day..

 

I remember the Hotel Vendome tragedy in Boston because some of my classmates lost dads or brothers (some of you are too young)

and of course, 9/11. Not sure, but I think the number of firefighters (and paramedics)  killed that day?...

well over 300.

 

It does not matter where they battle a fire.

It matters that they do it..willingly, when so many would not.

 

Same for the police, the armed service personnel, the border patrol. ( my friend's son serves with the BP and she worries about him every damn day) Of course, even in our crazy world today, teachers and principals are put in the position of saving lives. sigh.

 

I am grateful for all these young people and their  bravery and selflessness.

 

Heroic first responders put their lives on the line every single day.

My heart breaks every time one of them is lost. 

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Am watching this on TV right now. How tragic! I feel terribly sad for the families. We came a few feet from losing our house in Croatia a year ago that was saved by courageous fire fighters. To this day I wish I knew who was involved in fighting those (ARSON) fires and thank them personally for their tireless efforts. Firefighters are heroic and not recognized enough in my opinion.

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Poor kids. Truly a shame. :(

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This is a horrible tragedy and my heart and prayers go out to all of the friends and family of those lost. We would also do well to remember to keep those still fighting and those who will spend the rest of the season fighting in our thoughts and prayers. They'll need it with these conditions.

 

I think bartfull hit the nail very much on the head. These men don't risk their lives to save homes. They do it to save lives. Without these teams we would see more instances of what happened last year in Colorado. We saw lives lost to wildfires last year in Utah. We have teams that work year round to prevent fires ending up like this. Doing controlled burns, setting up fire breaks, but you can't anticipate everywhere a fire will start. When a town is threatened, lives are threatened. Where there is a need, there will always be heroes who answer the call. With this there is most definitely a need.

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Well Said.

 

I've lived through two of these...up close and personal...everyone that comes to California is always afraid of earthquakes.  Not me.  Fire. Stay safe everyone in the path this year -- looks likes much of the West will need a few prayers along with all good thoughts.

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This just breaks my heart! Our firefighters, police, & military are amazing! Wishing all of you suffering from this weather get some relief soon! It's hot here in the East but nothing compared to what you're going through.

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