Tag Archives: fires

How do humans cope with nature’s wrath?

The question keeps popping into my noggin when I watch and read reports of fire such as the blaze that is terrorizing southern California.

How do human beings hope to cope with the wrath that Mother Nature can bring to us?

I’ve lost track of the acreage destroyed by the fire whipped by the ferocious and relentless Santa Ana wind. It’s in the many hundreds of thousands of acres. It covers many hundreds of square miles. Media reports tell us it’s larger than the cities of Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco. It could be that it’s larger than all of them combined.

I heard just prior to the weekend that the calming wind gave firefighters a break, that they gained ground on the fire. Then the wind kicked back in, setting the firefighters back on their heels.

Yet the firefighters keep at it. Thousands of them are battling this blaze. They’ll stay in the fight for the duration, until the last ember is extinguished.

I heard also they have come from many states to fight these fires. My wife and I caught a glimpse earlier this year of how firefighters rally to fight a common foe. We traveled in October to Oregon, driving through California from Needles all the way to the Oregon border. We saw smoke, but no flames from the fire that erupted in California’s famed Wine Country.

We visited with firefighters mustering at a Nevada County,  Calif., site to fight a blaze burning near Grass Valley. They came from far away to lend a hand. En route north along Interstate 5 we saw a Seattle Fire Department truck heading home, with Old Glory waving proudly in the wind. They epitomize the best of the human spirit.

I suppose I have just answered that question about coping with nature’s awesome wrath.

The human spirit can rise to any occasion.

Heroes are answering the call again

Here we go yet again.

Fires explode across tens of thousands of acres, driven great distances by hurricane-force winds. Homes are incinerated. People’s lives are put in extreme jeopardy. Prized possessions vanish in the extreme heat.

Who answers the call to help? The firefighters, police, emergency medical personnel. That’s who.

It’s happening yet again in southern California. Those dreaded Santa Ana winds are devastating a region and imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.

It should go without saying, but these men and women are the truest heroes imaginable. They run into the firestorm. They fight these unspeakable forces from the air and on the ground. They expose themselves to heat, flame, smoke and utter exhaustion.

And then we have neighbors helping neighbors. They, too, deserve our prayers and good wishes as they all — every one of them — battle to save what they can against forces far stronger than anything they can ever hope to control.

This has been a tough year for so many Americans. The Texas Gulf Coast and Florida are still battling to recover from the savagery of hurricane wind and rain. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands residents cannot yet get full power and potable water restored after enduring their own misery from yet another storm.

The Santa Rosa fires up north from the inferno that is engulfing southern California at this moment brought their own measure of agony to beleaguered residents and the responders who rushed to their aid.

We should salute them all. We should pray for their safety. We should hope for as speedy a recovery as is humanly possible.

Thank you, heroes. All of you make the rest of us so proud.