Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wildland fire fighters

I was just looking through some news photos on the California wildfires this season. Many of the ones from the Big Sur fire are simply stunning. There are crews there from Colorado and their pale green hard hats stand out in contrast in front of the charred and burning timber. The photos are truly amazing.

I came upon this one, and it brought tears to my eyes. In 1989, I lived in northern California (just north of Klamath and south of Crescent City). I spent countless hours walking through the huge redwood trees. Deep into lush forests. Fog and mist surrounding me. Gentle giants above and around me. I had redwoods in my backyard. I have stood inside many, many redwood trees that suffered burns similar to this one. It may very well survive this burn and continue growing! I know how strong and resiliant redwoods are. And, still ... it makes my heart physically hurt to see this tree burning.

And, I have to say that I love these two men in this picture. I know nothing of them. But, I know their hearts. They are heroes.

Chris has much of the very same gear as these two have. Same pants. Same shirts. Same packs. Same picks.
Same heart.
Can you imagine how hot this gear is in weather in the upper 90's? How heavy the gear and equipment? How thick the air? How frustrating the work?
God, keep all these firefighters safe and let their work be true and swift.

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