I don't know how many of you have been to Texas, or better yet have driven through it. I'm talking about the whole state, not the skinny little part of the panhandle. It is freakin' huge. It probably should have been broken up into four states when it came into the union, but politics and pride made Texas the biggest state in the conterminous U.S.A. For the last few weeks, Texas has had the biggest wildfire problem as well.
According to The Atlantic.com, wildfires over the last few weeks have burned over one million acres, destroyed hundreds of homes. I have read reports of at least two volunteer firefighters being killed while fighting wildfires in Texas this month.
A friend of mine forwarded me this link to the Atlantic, which has posted a photo series on the rash of wildfires in Texas. Some excellent photos of the fires, the effects and the aftermath.
Most of the photos appear to have been taken in rural areas, which might explain the lack of coverage by the mainstream media. Still, the loss of two firefighters should have garnered more attention.
Elias Jaquez, 49 was a volunteer firefighter from Cactus, Tx. passed away on April 20th after suffering burn injuries while battling a 35,000 acre wildfire on April 9th. The fire was reported to be in Moore County TX, about 40 miles north Of Amarillo. FF Jaquez was flown to the burn unit at UMC in Lubbock Texas, where he was treated until succumbing to his injuries. He was surrounded by family and friends at the time of his passing.
Gregory M. Simmons, 51 from the Eastland Volunteer Fire Dept. was killed on April 15th while fighting a fire near Gorman Texas. Simmons was initially though to have perished from burn injuries, but an autopsy revealed that he died from blunt force trauma, possibly from being struck by a vehicle during a burnover event. More about Simmons and the circumstances surrounding his passing can be found HERE.
Texas has had a bad month in regards to wildfires, extreme drought and adverse weather does not bode well for the near future either.
This post originally was just going to be about the photo series, but digging on the matter revealed the details on the two fallen firefighters. Volunteers have a special place in my heart, so much is placed on the shoulders of so few. RIP brothers.
Thanks for reading,
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