TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - With hundreds of crews battling the Bighorn Fire, many community members near areas affected are wanting to help in the effort.
As of Saturday, June 13, the fire had grown to 11,500 acres with 10% containment in the Catalina Mountains.
KOLD News 13 has received several questions about how you can donate or where you can drop off supplies for the hardworking crews. However, the Forest Service says there’s a different way to show appreciation.
“We are in the pre-evacuation area and we are just so thankful for all that they’ve done," said Sarah Marr, an Oro Valley resident. Her family joined others gathered across the street from Catalina State Park Friday night.
“It’s super hot, they’re all geared up. It’s dangerous work," said Bob Jones.
The people who call Oro Valley home know many Hot Shots, fire crews and support personnel are far from their own and away from their families. So, a simple idea shared on Facebook spread quickly.
A group gathered Thursday night with signs, noise makers and loud cheers to thank the crews going in and out of the state park. The effort continued Friday night.
“This was a tangible way for us to come out and just say thank you," said Marr.
“They’r trained for this, they are ready for this. They know the weather can get hot so they are prepared for that. They are drinking water, they’re taking appropriate rests when they have to," said Capt. Adam Jarrold with the Golder Ranch Fire District and the Public Information Officer for the Bighorn Fire.
The Forest Service says donations can be tricky, as fire camps is a self-contained organization. Meals, refreshments, firefighting gear, medical services and more are provided in camp.
Firefighters are on a strict dietary regimen with a required number of calories per day appropriately divided into proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Their meals and refreshments are provided to meet those guidelines.
“It’s a team effort, everybody knows the dangers out here and we’re ready for them," said Capt. Jarrold.
A team effort the Marr family is now a part of after watching the efforts to contain the fire for a week from their backyard.
“We were anxious, but not afraid," said Marr.
“We appreciate everything they’re doing and we want to support them any way we can," said Oro Valley resident Debby Jones.
If you’d like to show your appreciation, the Forest Service asks that you make signs and flyers thanking firefighters, crews and support personnel and post them in highly-visible locations. You can also drop them by the Fire Information tent so they can be posted around the fire camp.
The Forest Service says you can also spread the word among information networks regarding area and trail closures, keeping roadways open for fire support vehicles, and keeping drones away from wildfires.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department said you can also make donations to the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross. The PCSD said the money will stay local and help fund numerous programs for those who are impacted by the Bighorn Fire. You can help by going HERE.