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Community serves firefighters saving their homes

Mariposa residents are supporting the men and women who have come to to battle the wildfire threatening their homes.
(Dan Rubin Reporting)

Mariposa residents are supporting the men and women who've come to their aid. 

It's grueling work for fire teams trying to control the Carstens Fire in Mariposa County, but they are not alone, because the community is there to support them in any way they can.

Business is booming... "From morning to night time, we actually had a line out the door yesterday of firefighters..." said Ron Stapp, owner of Miner's Roadhouse 140 in Mariposa.

Some residents, like Gina Breecebalm, have been evacuated because of the fire but are still doing what they can. "I came in early and then worked my full shift and then had to find a place to sleep, which was the Assembly of God," said Gina.

Evacuated from her home while caring for an autistic son, Gina directs her sympathy elsewhere. "They're coming in here and they're just nodding off, they're so tired, and all they want is water or coffee," said Gina.

Just like Gina, firefighters can't go home either. Henry Herrera with the US Forest Service said, "The shifts are typically are 16 hour shifts. During initial attack, they can be longer than that."

When firefighters finally get a break, they're taken care of by people who don't, like Gina. "Then I came back to work at like 7:00 this morning, and then I took off work to go take a nap, so I took a two hour nap just to come back," said Gina.

"They're literally camping in a tent with maybe on bag of clothes... That's difficult," said Ron Stapp.

Firefighters have to head back to the fire line, with no end in sight, but they're fueled by the people who's homes they're saving. "To be able to serve these individuals that are serving us, because they're working hard," said Stapp.

The support from our community, from the public, is the greatest thing we can ask for," said Herrera.

If all goes well, the Carstens Fire should be wrapped up by Monday.

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