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Firefighters gain ground against Arizona’s Wallow Fire

The good news is Arizona’s second largest wildfire, the Wallow Fire, is 10 percent contained.

The point that 90 percent is not contained does not accurately reflect the ongoing progress made by thousands of firefighters from around the nation to eventually snuff out this fiery monster in eastern Arizona which began May 29.

Watching a recent live television report, a fire official spoke at a town hall meeting with residents whose homes were in the direct path of the inferno. The official spoke about the many strides made that day to back burn areas to control the spread of future blazes and protect homes.

When the leader announced to the residents of Eager and Springerville attending the meeting that they could possibly go back home in several days, the crowd erupted into thunderous applause with an outpouring of hoots and hollers. All of the tears from the moist-eyed crowd, and from those watching the event on television, could have spontaneously doused every fire flame.

I am an Arizonan who was driving my truck along Arizona’s Mogollon Rim when the fire first broke out. The scenic mountain rim top is located west of the fire’s Ground Zero. This is God’s Country located at a 7,400-foot elevation amidst the largest Ponderosa pine forest in the world.

On a very steep highway incline I was suddenly passed by a large red vehicle chugging toward the rip top. The mammoth vehicle was a fire truck from the Stanislaus County Fire Department.

Stanislaus County is located in the heart of Central California – about 700 miles from the wildfire site. Imagine the physical and mental fatigue felt by the firefighters from the long drive to get to the fire site – much less getting out of the truck upon arrival to pour 100 percent of their physical and mental strength (adrenaline) into fighting a seemingly uncontrollable flame-driven monster.

Many occupations contribute widely to the health and well being of the public. Firefighters place their lives on the line every single day along with police and numerous other unsung heroes. This goose-bump realization is what fuels optimism in Arizonans that the Wallow Fire will soon be controlled and extinguished.

The fine people of Eager and Springerville are gratefully heading back to their homes now. They face a major uphill, multi-year journey in their communities but at least they are - home.

Hope exists due to the countless men and women of many organizations who are on the ground and in the air fighting the blaze and handling numerous related tasks.

Thank you to our HEROES!