Exhausted Oregon firefighters sing after battling West Coast wildfires
A crew of exhausted, ash-covered firefighters is going viral after breaking into song at the end of a grueling 14-hour shift — as the still-raging West Coast wildfires are predicted to cost at least $20 billion in damages.
The Oregon smoke eaters belted out a parody of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” as they lay exhausted on the ground after yet another day battling the Lionshead Fire, which has burned for a month.
“OK, you busted your butt … let’s see if you can go viral,” their crew boss, Theodore Hiner, said as he started filming their weary-yet-uplifting song.
“Take me out to the fire, take me out to the line. Bring me some sawyers and hazel hoes — I don’t care if I ever get home,” the 20-man crew sang, urging listeners to “Root, root, root for the red crew.”
Hiner proudly wrote alongside the clip that they were “exhausted but still excellent.”
“Busted their butts today. And still make me laugh,” he wrote. “My crew. My guys.”
They are one of 31 crews fighting the Lionshead Fire just outside Warm Springs, Fox 12 said. The blaze started a month ago, burning almost 200,000 acres — and is still only 10 percent contained, the station said.
Meanwhile, dozens of wildfires remained burning across around 5 million acres across the West Coast Thursday, with at least 34 deaths and dozens still missing.
An astonishing satellite image released by NASA shows the smoke from the record-breaking blazes moving across the country — meeting the record-breaking hurricanes the East Coast is battling.
And along with the almost unimaginable human cost, the blazes are also leaving a historic financial toll too, according to experts who study the economic impacts of extreme weather.
“We’re setting records year after year,” Tom Corringham, a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told the New York Times.
“It’s a little early to say what the total impacts are going to be, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the damages are over $20 billion this year,” he told the Times, stressing that was only the “direct costs.”
The raging flames could also erase historic buildings — with the Mount Wilson Observatory in Los Angeles right in the path of California’s Bobcat fire, which came as close as 500 feet to the center and its groundbreaking telescopes.
After reporting “cautious” optimism over being saved from the inferno, the center then conceded late Wednesday, “The #BobcatFire is still on our back. We thought we might have it down, but … The more active area appears to be moving northward.”
The dense smoke — which has spread at least 5,000 miles to Europe — has also caused health woes, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Hospitals in hard-hit Oregon have reported a 10 percent increase in emergency room visits for breathing problems.
“It’s really putting a burden on our asthmatic patients,” said Dr. Paul Williams, an allergy and immunology specialist in Everett, Washington. “They’re calling us more often and they’re requiring additional medications.”
Air pollution is considered a serious health hazard linked to diseases including asthma, lung cancer, heart disease and early death.
“I can’t recall a time when we’ve had this amount of smoke for this long a time,” said Sylvia Vanderspek, chief of the Air Quality Planning Branch of the California Air Resources Board.
With Post Wires
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