Local firefighters bring western blazes much closer to home

Those wildfires you keep reading and hearing about in California and Utah are, in some ways, a lot closer to us than you think.

That is, if you are a firefighter.

Sam Raisch is among seven people from the Deparrtment of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry, District 16 at Wellsboro, who has been fighting to contain those fires.

The work detail for Raisch and others from this area was daunting. At one point the crew was fighting fires at 7,000 feet above sea level. Temperatures often were in the high 90s to low 100s. One day of firefighting stretched until 3 a.m., at which time firefighters just crashed in a cow pasture before waking at dawn to begin anew. Days without showers were the norm.

That’s a work detail few of us could handle. We honor those who sign up to do such a job, protecting homes, families and property, all the while at considerable danger to themselves.

We hope and pray there never comes a day when there are not enough of these people to answer the call.