The Selflessness of a Fire Fighter

Michael Means from Charlotte, NC, USA

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“They were part of an elite squad confronting wildfires on the frontline, setting up barriers to stop the spreading of destruction. But in their unpredictable world, it doesn’t take much to turn a situation deadly.”

CNN says of the 19 firefighters who are being honored posthumously for giving even their lives to fend the blaze of a wild fire in Arizona. The United States as a whole not only mourns the death of these fearless men, but is conscious of the situation they must’ve had when approaching the wildfire.

In the U.S., the sacrifice of a fire fighter is not just the task of confronting disaster; it starts with the training. One who desires to serve must first willingly accept the rigors of fire school which is essentially a boot camp for a firefighter. While they are trained to fight fires, frequently they find themselves providing medical care, instructing children on fire safety and doing much more than fighting fires. Even the schedule of an established fire fighter requires much sacrifice; often working 24 hour shifts, they leave behind their families to serve others.

The members of the Prescott Fire Department were among the elite. The fire they were trying to extinguish was said to encompass a total of 8,400 acres (34 km2). Upon arriving to perform their duties, they were forced to use tent like shelters while digging their safety line shelters which are intended to reflect the heat. Needless to say, when these shelters are deployed, it is a last resort measure. How urgent must the situation have been for them? I imagined them standing in front of such a dreadful wildfire.

Though they were making progress, fighting the fire, the fire unexpectedly changed directions because of the change in wind direction and overtook them. It’s even said that the fire superintendent was among those killed; probable with his given position, he could’ve had minimal involvement in fighting the inferno. However, he remained faithful to his mission despite enormous difficulty.

As I think of the efforts of these men, our heavenly Father comes to mind. If our Father had not taken care of us who sinned in heaven, we would’ve been mere sinners whose sins were revealed manifestly. This world honors these fire fighters who faced obstacles and dangers just to keep other’s life from the fiery flames. I ask myself if I’ve given this kind of honor, which was shared through this story, to Heavenly Father who came to this earth in order to save us from the eternal flames.

Heavenly Father sacrificed Himself, shedding blood, and saved our dying lives. Even before the extreme pain and suffering that were like the flames threatening His life, He did not stop walking for our salvation. To save us, He gave us His flesh and blood, and even His life. He has walked the path of sacrifice with love for thousands of years. No one can do the same as God did.

No matter how the winds of life change direction around me, I earnestly pray to our Father and Mother that never will I yield to them and kill the efforts my Father has made for my salvation from the flames.