TFD Paramedics reflect on their experience with the Bighorn fire

TFD Paramedics reflect on their experience with the Bighorn fire

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Two local fire paramedics are back protecting people in the city after spending two weeks on the Bighorn fire.

They saw firsthand the incredible work done by more than a thousand firefighters protecting our home and mountains.

They faced rough terrain, high heat, and intense fire.

They also faced some medical issues among their own.

“It’s easy to get exhausted if you’re not used to this kind of climate,” Justin Keith, TFD Paramedic, said.

That’s where Justin, Mike Blume, and 30 other medical units jumped into action.

They were assigned to provide medical support to the hotshot crews and they cared for pretty much what you'd imagine: blisters, cramps, and dehydration.

"Everybody's working really hard, long hours with heavy packs, in pants that aren't breathable. Then you have an undershirt and a long sleeve short over that in 107 temps, so it's pretty warm," Keith said.

Although some TFD members have worked wildfires before, Blume and Keith typically deal with structure fires.

Dealing with something like this, in their own backyard, is a totally different ballgame.

But they both agree it was an amazing experience learning from these elite crews.

"They put a lot of time, effort, and resources into protecting that community up there. It looks like they did a good job," Mike Blume, TFD Paramedic, said.

Blume added it was also a unique experience because both he and Justin were living in Tucson during the Aspen fire. They saw the devastation left behind.

The fact they had the chance to secure structures, pull debris away from homes, and just work to save the community this time was eye-opening.

"During that time, I was living up in the Catalina Foothills and I saw that fire coming down. I thought it was crazy, but seeing that again was definitely pretty nuts," Blume said.

Blume added that this was the first official state dispatch ordering TFD to send an ambulance.

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