Letter to editor icon 1

Letter to editor icon 1

Wildland firefighters have thankless job

In response to the recent criticism of wildland firefighters.

It is not uncommon for these "namby-pamby" firefighters to work a 24-plus hour shift, in a state of constant danger and fatigue. These courageous men and women are pushing themselves far beyond the limits of what a human body should be able to endure. From carrying (up to) a 100-pound pack for miles at a time to creating and defending miles of fire line. These heroes are putting their lives on the line day in and day out, to protect our cherished Montana wilderness areas and the structures that stand in them.

This is thankless work with constant reminders that people value their private land and buildings, more than the safety of the firefighters that are doing everything in their power to protect them. Firefighter safety should always be the number one concern.

According to the United States Fire Administration, from 1910 through 2016 there have been 1,114 wildland firefighter fatalities. The National Fire Protection Association reports that approximately 68,085 wildland firefighters were injured in 2015 alone. With 27.2 percent being attributed to over exertion, putting to rest the idea of the lazy wildland firefighter.

These men and women are unsung heroes that are unjustly critized at every turn but they continue working long thankless hours with a smile because they are doing what they love. Next time you see a wildland firefighter, give them a thank you.

-- Andrew De Money, Butte

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