The current California wildfires have taken the lives of 59 people with dozens remaining unaccounted for. With two major blazes located in Butte and Los Angeles, thousands of residents have been forced to leave their homes, praying the structures remain intact.
As citizens flee from the impending destruction, brave firefighters march directly into the flames.
Working endlessly to contain the multiple fires, these brave men and women sacrifice their safety every day. In light of the current risks they are facing, a 2017 photo has recently resurfaced and gone viral.
The photo features exhausted Tehachapi Wildland Fire Crew 11 members having a rest after working 24-hour shifts.
As mentioned, the photo was taken in 2017. The firefighters were battling the Thomas Fire which ultimately burnt 300,000 acres of land, causing $2 billion in damages.
We’re used to seeing intense photos of firefighters battling the flames, but we’re not often exposed to what goes on behind the scenes. In the photo, the crew lies on the ground using backpacks as pillows, their helmet within arm’s reach. They look completely burnt out from exhaustion, but they’re still willing to go out every day to help protect us all.
The photo is being shared on social media as a way of expressing gratitude to the firefighters helping in California right now.
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I just want to take the time to say thank you to all of the fire fighters that have been putting their lives on the line to stop the Woolsey Fires…you men & women are true heroes & me and my family thank you. My heart & prayers go out to all families in the affected areas….This is honestly Unbelievable what we are witnessing at this very moment. God have mercy on us all. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
Currently, firefighters are battling two main fires: the ‘Camp Fire’ and ‘Woolsey Fire’. Sadly, the Camp Fire has now become the deadliest in California history.
As another way to say thank you, people have also been sending gifts to the fire crews. Although the crews appreciate the kindness and support, they say there are better ways you can help.
TIME explains: “Material items— like clothing and other supplies— are not only unwarranted in some cases, but also require work from officials to sort through these kinds of donations.” Instead, Darren Dow, vice president of Cal Fire Local 2881, the union representing many of California’s state firefighters, has asked for support in the form of monetary donations.
“A lot of times cash donations are better because [fire crews] can actually utilize these dollars for specific needs rather than taking away some manpower,” said Dow.
TIME has also compiled a list of reputable organizations through which you can donate. It can be accessed by clicking here.
The following video shows what the firefighters are currently facing in California.
In the video, you see Cody Percified attempting to flee a camp in the heart of Camp Fire. In the footage, he’s forced to drive through a literal wall of flames. Afterward, he said:
“Within half an hour the whole place was in flames. By 8:30 am, the house was burning.”
Firefighters go through Hell and back while protecting those around them. Its important to keep them in our prayers and thoughts— especially in times like these.
Watch the video below!
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