(photo from a friend on Facebook)
It's an odd feeling, the deep despair that you feel when you hear of a fellow firefighter succumbing to the job they love. It's been called the "firebug" -- the innate love of fighting fire. Some folks have it, others do not. It's something that is just in your blood, so to speak. Every year, whether from car accidents, burnovers, falling snags (dead trees) or some other affliction, firefighters lives are lost. Each year, Americans build homes that are harder to defend against fires, constructing them closer and closer within the Wildland-Urban Interface.
I urge you, as a courtesy to your local firefighters, do what you can! Don't let these brave souls sacrifice their lives in vain. Make sure you have defensible space around your property. Have a plan! Cooperate with fire officials if evacuations are called for. Do your part. (To learn more about how you can make your home and property more fire-safe or to get your community to make a plan of action, go here: Firewise.org
The other amazing way that you can help, if you feel compelled, is to donate to the Wildland Fire Foundation. This organization has helped a close personal friend of mine after he had an accident in the line of duty--think of it as a group to help firefighters and their families, just as you would a wounded vet. On their site, you can donate to the cause, send a thank you message to firefighters all over, and much more. I am in no way affiliated with the organization, I just think it's worthwhile and wanted to alert readers to its' existence.
It is at times like this that I hug my loved ones a little tighter. I am thankful that I was always lucky while on the fire line, and as I go to work now in a dispatch office, I am cognizant of each and every firefighter that I order and send them off with many thanks and prayers for safety.
Please pray for my friends and colleagues in the fire community. Pray for Yarnell. Pray for everyone that is affected by wildfire each year and all those that march out each season to help snuff out the fires.