In 2020, about 7,353 firefighters on the Cal Fire force have fought more than 1,920 wildfires since Aug. 15, according to a Cal Fire spokeswoman.
Ranchers and rural community members say it would be impossible to compile an exhaustive list of all the heroic firefighters who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Just one of the many names ranchers called out was Cody Parks, on the Cal Fire crew in Napa County, Calif.
“Cody was great. We were very happy to be working with him,” one rancher told the Capital Press.
The Napa County Farm Bureau also expressed appreciation for Parks’ kind treatment of rural people and his eagerness to help them.
“I personally lost my own home during the Tubbs Fire (in 2017), so this is personal for me. It’s not just about being a firefighter and doing my job. Losing my own home pushes me harder to save homes and ranches,” Parks told the Capital Press.
Parks said he is honored to work alongside so many men and women in Cal Fire who are working long hours and risking their lives to put out the fires.
He said he has also appreciated working alongside ranchers who have offered to help defend their homes, cut fire lines and provide supplies.
Parks said he prioritizes ranchers’ lives over property and tells them how to be safe, effective and efficient if they want to help.
“Clear communication is key,” said Parks. “It’s kind of funny to say, but I’m just really direct with them and tell them the truth: the things I have and don’t have, the things I can do and can’t do. Then we can help each other.”