Exhausted Firefighters Grab Naps Wherever They Can As Redding Blaze Rages

The California wild fires continue to sweep the state, emergency workers are not just fighting fires; they're fighting exhaustion. The deadly Carr fire near Redding is among the worst in the state's history.

The fire reportedly started with a flat tire, when a motorist’s rim scraped the asphalt and caused sparks. The sparks ignited dry brush, and from there things quickly got out of control.

It has already been blazing for more than two weeks and has consumed nearly 180,000 acres. This video shows how firefighters are coping with the rough job that they have fighting this inferno.

The video was taken by Redding resident Richard Tuggle, who spotted the five firefighters stretching out for a nap right out in the fields. The firefighters were fighting the blaze on his property, and Tuggle had gone back to check on his land when he saw the crew taking a break.
The property owner didn't want to disturb the firefighters but he did want people to know about their hard work.

"This picture literally brings me to a whole new respect for the fire fighters," Tuggle wrote. "After days of fighting this fire, they curled up and slept on the ground in my neighborhood just to do it again tonight. Thank you for saving my home and running into a fire that the rest of the town is running from. You all are true hero’s," Tuggle wrote in an Instagram post.

Other people have been trying to help firefighters in whatever way they could. Chelsea Lutz posted a video to Facebook of a 2-year-old girl with her mother handing out sandwiches to those battling the blaze. The little girl, named Gracie, has two uncles and a grandfather helping to fight the fires.

Exhaustion on this job is not just something that could get you fired, but could get you killed. Working too hard can lead to fatal mistakes. Thus far, three firefighters have perished in the blaze, which brings the death toll to eight. Considering the fires are only 48 percent contained, there is a real fear that the death toll will rise.

Countless others may not have died in the fire, but have lost everything. Thousands have been evacuated, and more than 1,000 homes have been destroyed. Hundreds more have been damaged.

There are several reasons why the firefighters are having such a hard time containing the blaze. The drought that California has been suffering from for years had set the stage long ago. Vegetation moisture is at a record low, and a long, hot summer only intensified it this year.

High winds and a heat wave have made things worse. Temperatures have soared the triple digits this week. Making things more challenging, the terrain in some areas includes steep hills that are difficult for crews to access.

Some 3,600 firefighters are on the job, though. Firefighters from as far away as New Zealand and Australia have come to the U.S. to try and help fight the blaze. Hopefully they will get a break in the weather, or have some luck in further containing the massive blaze before it does any more damage, or takes anymore lives.

Source: SF Gate
Photos: Instagram, YouTube

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