What a summer in Texas. 3.5 million acres burned, at last count, with fires still burning in central and north Texas. In millions of those acres, the men and women who fight the fires are VOLUNTEERS. Repeatedly this summer, they have risked their lives to keep these fires from doing even greater damage. Volunteer firefighters have no funding from any government. We, the people, are their only source of funds. Given the record-breaking heat, drought and increase in wildfires to be fought, those funds are now dangerously low.
Lack of funding means that volunteer firefighters have to fight fires with less-than-optimal equipment, making a life-threatening situation even more deadly. When you're not next door to one of these fires, it's easy not to worry. We have so much trust and faith in our firefighters, both employed and volunteer. I think of them as a staple of my community and my country, a continual resource. I walked out of my house one day and smelled nothing but smoke in the air from a rural fire in our area, and worry never crossed my mind... after all, the firefighters were on the job.
But this job takes a lot of equipment and material resources, as well as human commitment and energy. I've experienced a wake-up call and now realize that this is one community resource that needs us as much as it protects us.
I learned just today of the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund. I invite you to join me in making a donation, large or small. It's a fitting way to honor all first-responders and to remember those who rushed to help on 9/11. Just click here to donate securely online.
If you're not in or from Texas, see if there is a Wildfire Relief Fund in your state. Southern California and Georgia have Wildfire Relief Funds. Search for your state and "wildfire relief" on Google.
This year, more than 6.1 million acres of US land have burned (Source: The Weather Channel), a record-breaking statistic. It's more important than ever to help those who have, against great odds, kept that number from being even greater and more devastating.
|All photos from the Texas Wildfire Relief Website|