Obviously I’m not suggesting we’re in the final days of destruction or anything like that, but we’re in the middle of a firestorm the likes of which I haven’t seen during my 13 years in Susanville. It’s not like I haven’t seen clouds of smoke drifting over Diamond Mountain as some fire burns somewhere around us. Sadly, I have. But I haven’t seen hundreds of thousands of acres go up in flames in multiple fires up and down the West Coast.
A couple of weeks ago I took a few vacation days and went to visit my daughter who lives in central Washington near Mt. St. Helens. I was looking forward to breathing a little clean air as I planned my route of travel. Rather than go up Interstate 5, I decided to drive up 139 and up into Oregon before joining the interstate near Eugene. I find the beauty of the eastern side of California’s mountains captivating, and I looked forward to some stellar scenery.
These teams of firefighters — from the men and women on the blackened ground with hand tools to the fire engine and water tender drivers to the heavy equipment operators to the management teams that direct the firefighting efforts to the folks who manage the communications — come from our own local fire districts, from state and federal agencies and from fire departments from all across the United States.
Yes, firefighters working this week in Northeastern California have come from all over the country with one goal in mind — to protect us. Of course, there are firefighters and equipment from Oregon, Washington and Colorado, but we’ve also noticed firefighters from as far away as Minnesota and Hawaii.