This summer, news of wildfires from California and around the West have shocked and saddened us.
Firefighters battling these blazes often work 12 to 36 hour shifts, wearing up to 40-50 pounds of gear and carrying heavy tools. Once deployed, a fire crew might drive all night to reach a wildland fire, before working these long days.
In addition to fighting blazes, wildland firefighters may need to set up evacuation centers when fires come close to homes. They also manage air quality and search for missing residents or colleagues.
Many groups and communities came together this summer to offer financial support and prayers for wildland firefighters. These include Bill Leonard, Tribal Chair of the Southern Sierra Miwuk Tribe, singing an honor song for fallen firefighters at a briefing last summer on the Ferguson Fire.
These wildfires can create burdens for firefighters who may spend weeks or months apart from their families. The Wildland Firefighter Foundation provides aid to firefighters injured while battling grass or forest fires throughout the western region, and supports families of fallen wildland firefighters.
Based in Boise, Idaho, the Foundation may also help with travel costs to bring family members to the bedside of an injured firefighter, or could help replace lost wages during a firefighter’s medical leave.
You can support the Wildland Firefighter Foundation by donating directly on their website. You can also provide support by drinking Coors Banquet beer. For every Coors Banquet case or case equivalent sold, Coors donates 25 cents to this organization through the Protect Our West campaign.
This annual campaign started in May and ends in early September, and is available in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. It has raised more than $1 million for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation since its start four years ago, according to the MillerCoors website.
As summer winds down, remember our wildland firefighters are still working hard to extinguish blazes around the West. Let’s support them through our purchases and donations!