TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – ‘Thank yous’ were around every corner lining the road up to the KNP Complex Wednesday.
Highway 198 through Three Rivers was filled with signs thanking firefighters and other first responders.
“We just can’t thank these guys enough. It’s tough brutal work, and essentially they’re you know, saving the town,” David Stanley who lives and works in Three Rivers said.
Stanley’s home is under a mandatory evacuation order and his work has slowed dramatically since the fire broke out nearly three weeks ago.
But he’s still trying to take care of crews however he can. There were bowls set out with free toiletries and other necessities along with thank-you notes on his store counter.
Fellow business owner and resident Gregory Lockhart has had to close up shop for now.
“It’s a big economic crunch whenever the park closes it does affect us here,” he said.
Even though his real estate business is closed he had a big red sign hung out front thanking firefighters. And while there may be less foot traffic, road traffic remains busy with first responders who see signs like Lockhart’s and feel thankful too.
“It’s been a really long fire year and seeing those signs, we just can’t thank them enough because it’s just that extra level that just gives us more energy to keep fighting those fires,” Mike Theune a fire information officer said.
Wednesday saw clearer skies which meant air attacks were on for crews. They saw an increase in containment from 8% to 11% with the fire now 48,872 acres.
Just over 1,800 personnel are still working the KNP Complex. There is no set date of containment.
Still, Stanley said he’s feeling much better about the firefight.
“It was looking a little scary there for a while but my feeling is definitely more hopeful. It’s getting a little better here every day. So hopefully we’ll be back to whatever passes for normal here soon,” he said.