As Battle Of California Wildfires Continue Photo Of Exhausted Firefighters Resurfaces

California is facing another round of devastating wildfires that have already claimed the lives of 48 people – and sadly, the toll is expected to grow. Thousands of residents have been forced to flee their homes, praying the fires will spare their land.

While petrified citizens run away from the fiery blaze, brave firefighters run directly into it. Firefighters from the state and surrounding areas come together to battle the flames threatening millions of peoples’ homes. They’re the only thing standing between total destruction and minor burn marks…

We’ve all seen the heart-stopping images of firefighters pressed up against the flames with a hose in-hand and their fellow firefighters standing in support beside them. But what we don’t see is what happens when the firetrucks pull out and the company heads back for a much-needed nap.

One of the California fire departments snapped a photo of this jarring reality and shared it online last December. This is what the firefighters braving the unbearable heat and treacherous terrain get to experience when they step off the battleground.

The Kern County Fire Department shared the photo (below) and said:

“This is a photo of our Tehachapi Wildland Fire Crew 11. Our crews have worked hundreds of hours to help battle the Thomas Fire. These firefighters work 24-hour shifts and are pushed to the point of exhaustion. Thank you, for your dedication and hard work to help the communities of Southern California.”

Covered in soot, boots still on and helmets resting within arm’s length – just in case. This reality is what the KCFD wanted everyone to see.

Many of us would gladly welcome these courageous public servants into our homes, give them the clothes off our backs and the food from our fridges, but sadly, that’s not an option. This is why so many people send gifts to firefighters braving the flames.

Darren Dow, the vice president of California Fire Local 2881, told TIME that while material donations like clothing and supplies are nice, they’re often unwanted. Instead, the firefighters battling flames in California could use monetary donations now more than ever. Dow said:

“A lot of times cash donations are better because they can actually utilize those dollars for specific needs rather than taking away some manpower.”

If you’d like to make a financial contribution, TIME recommends donating to one of the following reputable organizations:

AFF’s Disaster Relief Fund

“[Helps] firefighters who are working on the front lines and their families in a variety of ways, from financial to emotional support.”

California Fire Foundation

“Provides support for firefighters and the families of those who have [passed] while at work.”

CDF Firefighters Benevolent Foundation

“Provides funding for injured or fallen firefighters and their families, as well as burn victims.”

If you can’t swing a financial donation, a simple positive thought or prayer sent their way would be beneficial. These brave men and women could use any form of help we can send!

We should always keep first responders like policemen and firefighters in our thoughts, but the recent bout of wildfires in Calfornia really brings their hard work to light. Please stay safe, everyone!

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