Firefighters take huge risk

07/04/2013 5:54 PM

07/04/2013 5:55 PM

It was with great sadness that I heard of the deaths of the 19 firefighters in Arizona. People involved in fighting forest fires are real heroes. When they are dropped off, they usually have no idea if the winds are going to change and blow the fire back on them or if sparks will be blown past them and allow the fire to burn back.

While I was in the National Guard, I took part in four or five fire seasons, flying those brave men and women into the devil's cauldron. Several times we dropped them off and as we were returning to base we would get a call to return and pick them up as the fire had gotten out of hand and they faced being trapped.

We, as flight crew members, were issued space blankets to use in case our helicopter went down. We could dig a small foxhole and use the blanket to cover up if the fire was burning toward us. The firefighters had to joke, as the term they used was you would become a "pig in a blanket" if you became trapped.

May God bless all 19 and send his comfort to their families.

DALE BURNHAM

Ripon

Editor's Choice Videos

Join the Discussion

The Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service