California firefighter cries as Dome Fire tears through Mojave National Preserve
A California firefighter captured a fellow smoke-eater’s emotional moment as he shed tears at the sight of the Mojave National Preserve in flames near the border with Nevada, according to a report.
The crying firefighter is seen wiping tears from his face as he follows a member of his team holding a hose during the battle on the Dome Fire, which has burned over 43,000 acres (67 square miles) of the park.
“This flared up right in front of our engine captain who got out quick to try to knock it down,” Daniel Magallanes, who was shooting the scene of devastation, told Storyful.
“After seeing we wouldn’t be able to get a grip on it, we loaded up right away and kept bumping along,” he added.
The wildfire is one of about 30 that have swept through California amid a seating heat wave, including around the San Francisco Bay Area, and thousands of people are under evacuation orders.
“Throughout the state of California right now, we are stretched thin for crews” because of the inferno, state fire spokesman Will Powers said Wednesday. “Air resources have been stretched thin throughout the whole state.”
Police and firefighters went door to door early Wednesday in a frantic effort to warn people to evacuate as flames encroached on Vacaville, a city of about 100,000 that lies between San Francisco and Sacramento.
Diane Bustos told KPIX-TV that she and her husband tried to drive out but their vehicle caught fire, forcing them to flee on foot.
“I got all these flames on me and I lost my shoe, but I made it. God saved me,” she told the news outlet.
In Napa County, 80-year-old Gail Bickett loaded up her three dogs in a truck to evacuate as flames spread nearby, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“It’s scary,” she said. “It’s overwhelming.”
On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared an emergency because of the fires, easing the way to secure federal grants and also out-of-state firefighting assistance.
The fires also could hamper efforts to get the coronavirus pandemic under control, said John Swartzberg, an infectious disease expert and professor emeritus at UC Berkeley who has been consulting with state firefighters.
“If you get COVID and you’re being exposed to a lot of particulate matter from the fires, that’s going to certainly make COVID worse,” Swartzberg told the East Bay Times.
The fires also could increase the spread of the disease because they are bringing together so many firefighters, he added.
“It’s a perfect recipe for what we don’t want to do in a pandemic,” Swartzberg said.
With Post wires
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