Tales from the Fireline
Lupita's Love and Support
When the Hendrix Fire started, a little girl named Lupita watched as firefighters passed her home every day as they headed to work. She wanted to do something for them, and found some materials to make a sign thanking the firefighters as they drove by. She waited in the evening watching for their trucks. Once spotted, she would run out of her house and start waving as each crew drove by. Lupita never missed a day of proudly waving and yelling, “I lov...e firefighters!”
As the days passed, firefighters would slow down to make sure she could see them and wave back. She missed one day and the whole fire camp knew about it. She was a daily inspiration. As a group of firefighters, we started to wonder what we could do to recognize her moral support. Some dropped off Smokey Bear swag and just visited with her and her family. We talked among ourselves about that little girl that waves to us every day at our morning briefing. We wondered, "How do you find a gift for a 9 year-old girl on the fireline?" We even asked for help from fellow fire personnel in the Joint Interagency Information Center.
This team effort resulted in a purse filled with Smokey items being presented to her as a gift from the firefighters. She is very proud of her gift, and we are proud of her thinking about us, every single day. She thanks us, gives us inspiration, and a provides a reminder that we are giving to and receiving from our future leaders.
“Never underestimate the positive impact these displays of appreciation by local residents have on fire crews,” said Incident Commander Ricky Cox. “Even a simple ‘thank you’ improves firefighter morale, and reminds us why we’re here."
"Buckets" the Wonder Dog
When the Galice Wildland Fire Module was tasked with assessing a mining claim on RRSNF-administered land that was threatened by the Klondike Fire, they arrived at the mine to discover a dog that was unable to be located during the evacuation. The miners had needed to leave, and had been unable to locate their pup!
Firefighters quickly assessed the situation. First, they took steps to secure and protect the property on the mining claim. With the sweet dog hanging around while they did this important work, they knew they simply couldn't leave her, so they loaded her into the crew truck and took her out of harm's way. Not knowing her real name, they have decided to call her "Buckets" while she stays with the Crew Captain and his family. She's incredibly easy-going, and clearly resilient! The owners have been notified, so need to worry that this sweetie will be without her people. She will be reunited with them once the evacuation notices are lifted!