Gotta love those firefighters

hpim0078.jpgWhile I was watching the fires in Ca. last week, it reminded me of this spring when the south Ga. and N.E.Fla. area was burning-especially the Okefenokee Swamp. They called it The Great Turnaround Fire. This is the necklace that it inspired. It was scary and incredible. There were many days that ash would rain on the whole county. The smell of smoke was everywhere. We lost more land, but Ca. lost many more houses. Firefighters came from all over the country to help. Some of the teams stayed at our motel. These guys were putting in 16-18 hour days. One of the teams that was here came from Oregon. This team was mostly young-in their 20’s, maybe. They had never seen a swamp like the Okefenokee. It amazed them. One of them came in one night and said, “Miss Sue, I saw an alligator-a big one”. I asked him how big it was and he said at least 5 feet. I just busted out laughing and when I could breathe again, told him that he saw a baby. His eyes got big and round and he wanted to know how big they got. I told him that over in the swamp, they used to have some that were about 14 feet long. Before he choked on his tongue, I told him the average size was about 6-8 feet. They talked about how much easier it was to fight a fire here than out west because the land is flat and they weren’t packing 80lbs. of gear uphill and down into valleys. One guy left early because his wife had their firstborn 3 weeks before schedule. The sacrifices these guys make to tame these fires just amaze me. While I was watching the news last week, I wondered if any of the firefighters I saw were ones that had stayed here. We also had crews form Ca.,Colorado, Idaho and Montana. I tried to let them all know that we were so appreciative of them being here. I know the people in Ca. feel the same way. So if you are a firefighter, thanks again and stay safe.

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