SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – As California enters what could be one of the worst wildfire seasons on record, an image goes viral that captures the exhaustion and fatigue that firefighters are already feeling.

Photo shows Captain Justin Grunewald, a US Forest Service hotshot, taking a break while battling the Willow Fire in Big Sur.

“One of the things that was difficult here is that the terrain is so difficult to access, even for the firefighters, that we depend on the images of the crews,” Captain Thanh Nguyen, responsible for the crew, told ABC7. public information for the Willow incident. New. “And we just ran into that one and it really gives a picture of what it’s like to be there.”

The photo was taken by Captain Lincoln Peters who, along with Grunewald, works on the Mill Creek Hotshots Crew 4 in Southern California. Teams like theirs are tasked with doing some of the most grueling and difficult jobs that can lead to burnout.

“It’s the start of the season, and we’re seeing fires right now and the amount of acres burned so far that we normally see towards the end of the summer,” said Captain Nguyen.

RELATED: How Bad Will California Fire Season Be? This is what we know, what we don’t know

The image, which has gone viral on Twitter, is also an agonizing and grim reminder that the fire season is only just beginning and that there are many dry and potentially dangerous months ahead.

“This image resonates with all of us who have done this. Many of us are still trying to recover from the fatigue that we all accumulated during the fire season of last year,” said the Captain Nguyen.

“And on the side of that, we understand that fatigue is not only for firefighters but also for the public as well, who have to deal with it, especially if it’s in their backyard,” he said. he continued. “So you know, the image really struck a chord with a lot of people.”

Check out the latest wildfire stories and videos here in the Bay Area and across California.


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