Showing posts with label wildfires. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wildfires. Show all posts

Monday, August 14, 2023

suffering after surviving doesn't last as long as being able to help others

This report about the fires in Maui is a few days old. We know the number of dead has gone up since it was posted. What it has in it is too important to not share, beginning with this,

"People who develop any of these issues are at very high risk for suicide," Berkowitz said. "People with PTSD or any of these trauma-related disorders will often be more irritable, have angry outbursts and that can lead to physical aggression and issues. Substance dependence is not an uncommon outcome of this." (KABC News)

If you have #PTSD you know what it is like when you discover it can happen to you, because it did.

Woman recalls harrowing scene of Maui fires as death toll climbs: 'People died in their car'

Josh Haskell
Friday, August 11, 2023
Research has shown wildfires and the subsequent smoke can lead to increased rates of anxiety and depression and become worse among people who already have these conditions.

Dr. Steve Berkowitz, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, said wildfires and other natural disasters may also impact the ability of people with mental health conditions to receive care.
Many residents were forced to jump into the ocean to escape the flames.

LAHAINA, Hawaii (KABC) -- Many longtime residents of Maui are having a difficult time processing the devastation they have witnessed after dangerous wildfires ravaged the small Hawaiian island.

At least 59 people have been killed and a majority of the historic town of Lahaina, which was once the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, has been destroyed, according to officials.

During a press briefing on Thursday, Gov. Josh Green called the wildfires "likely the largest natural disaster in Hawaii's state history."

Many residents who have lost everything are now sheltered at a local gym. The aftermath of the wildfires is already having a significant impact on people's mental and physical health.

Thao Tran, who has lived in Lahaina for 30 years, described it as a nightmare.
read more here

Death toll from Maui wildfire climbs to 96, making it the deadliest in the US in more than 100 years

No one admits they fear it can happen to them. It's often harder to admit it after it happened and you need help. The thing is, if you read this site, then you know how healing it is to help someone else understand what it is like to be grateful you survived because you found healing. No one else will understand them unless they are survivors too. If you come across their posts on social media and they are looking for support, right now the most helpful thing you can do for them is be an example that the suffering after surviving doesn't last as long as being able to help others. That lasts a lifetime.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Combat to chainsaws, veterans fighting fires

Veterans find community, hard work in rare firefighting crew

Associated Press
November 24, 2018
Of the 25 positions on the crew, 17 are filled by veterans, McGirr said. There are three additional openings, and McGirr said he wants to recruit female veterans, too.
SALEM, Ore. - After being in firefights in Afghanistan and Iraq, members of one of America's newest elite wildfire crews are tasked with fighting fires in rugged country back home.
On the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's only hotshot crew focused on recruiting veterans, members have traded assault rifles and other weapons of war for chainsaws and shovels. But, like in the military, they have camaraderie, structure, and chain of command. And the occasional adrenaline rush.
Crew superintendent Michael McGirr said he and other managers took then-President Barack Obama's initiative to hire veterans to heart."We felt it was important for them to transition back home," McGirr said.

"Being in a firefight is way different than being in a wildland fire, but both are mentally taxing," said Chris Schott, who served two tours in Afghanistan with the Army's 7th Special Forces Group. "In a wildland fire, no one's shooting at you, but conditions can go favorable to unfavorable very quickly."

The Lakeview Veterans Interagency Hotshot Crew, based in Klamath Falls, Oregon, received its hotshot certification after rigorous training and testing, the Bureau of Land Management announced last week. It's now among 112 elite U.S. wildland firefighting teams and the only targeting veterans for recruitment, the agency said.
read more here

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Iraq Veteran Found Dog-tags After Fire in California

Emotional Iraq veteran finds his dog tag amid ruins of his parents' home destroyed by wildfire

ABC News
Emily Shapiro
October 11, 2017

An Iraq veteran spent this week sifting through the charred remains of his parents' California house to find one of his most precious items: the dog tags he deployed with.

While Brady Harvell's Santa Rosa home survived the deadly wildfire that tore through the area, his parents, who live nearby at the house he grew up in, lost everything.
Harvell said his parents' house had already filled with smoke by the time they woke up. They grabbed their two dogs, two cats and fled. They didn't have time for anything extra, like his baby pictures, he said.
"Everybody I grew up with ... everybody's house is gone. It's absolutely nuts," he told ABC News.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

California Veteran Watched Home Burn Down

‘It Looked Like the Apocalypse.’ California Residents Watch in Horror as Wildfires Destroy Their Homes
Melissa Chan
October 10, 2017

“We were watching unit by unit by unit burn down,” said Flores, 66. “We just stood there in shock. It was so fast. My house just burned down in front of me.”
Eduardo Flores and his wife could only stare in shock as a massive fireball swallowed their longtime home in Santa Rosa, Calif. within minutes.

The Army veteran had woken up to use the bathroom about 1 a.m. Monday when he saw a blood-red sky outside. The wildfires that would leave at least 13 people dead and more than 1,000 homes destroyed in California's wine country had reached his front door.

“It was literally raining fire. We were choking, gasping for air,” he told TIME on Tuesday. Flores rushed outside to warn his sleeping neighbors in the Journey’s End Mobile Home Park. He hammered on their doors with his fists and smashed their windows while screaming. Ten minutes later, he and his wife grabbed their dog, left all their belongings behind and made their way to a nearby hospital, where they climbed to the third-tier parking lot. They had an aerial view of the destruction.
read more here

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Yarnell Hotshot Firefighter Remembers 19 Brothers Lost That Day

The Yarnell Hill Fire killed 19 firefighters — The lone survivor shares his story KPCC Staff
May 06, 2016
He said that he'll be battling survivor's guilt for the rest of his life and continues to struggle with PTSD.

"The things that I saw and the things that I've been through have just been branded into my mind,"
McDonough said.
A photo from Brendan McDonough's book, "My Lost Brothers." MCCARTIN/DANIELS PR
On June 30, 2013, the Granite Mountain Hotshots responded to a wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona. The specially-trained wildland firefighters were met by a 3,000-degree firestorm that eventually took the lives of 19 firefighters from Prescott, Arizona within minutes, leaving a sole survivor: Brendan McDonough.

Four of those firefighters had Southern California roots. McDonough reflects on his life and the fire which burned 8,000 acres in his new book, "My Lost Brothers: The Untold Story by the Yarnell Hill Fire's Lone Survivor," and he spoke with KPCC.

McDonough said that he wanted to be a firefighter since he was 13 or 14. He was advised to become a "hotshot" — the firefighters who are sent to fight wildfires in remote spots — because it meant the opportunity to travel and see the country.

McDonough said that he was going down a bad path and that joining the Granite Mountain Hotshots when he was 19 saved his life.

"The journey I was headed down before I got hired was not a good one. I was a drug addict. Six months before I got hired, I was just released out of jail," McDonough said. He'd been using heroin.

McDonough credits the Granite Mountain hotshots with turning him from who he was into who he is today.

"The guys that I worked with were just humble, caring, passionate, just amazing men that weren't only training me to be a firefighter, but to be a good dad," McDonough said. He has a young daughter.
read more here

Friday, August 21, 2015

Army Sending 200 Soldiers to Fight Wildfires

Army Sends 200 Soldiers to Battle Wildfires in Pacific Northwest
Kris Osborn
August 20, 2015
Firefighters and Washington National Guard soldiers work to extinguish hot spots on a hillside as they fight the First Creek Fire, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, near Chelan, Wash (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Army is mobilizing 200 active-duty troops to help firefighters battle deadly wildfires in the Pacific Northwest at the request of the Idaho-based National Interagency Fire Center, service officials said.

The move comes a day after three firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service died when they were overcome by the blaze in a rural part of Washington state.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter approved the request and is sending the 17th Field Artillery Brigade from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington to provide military support to the ongoing fire suppression efforts, officials said.

"It is an honor and a privilege to serve our nation," said Lt. Col. James Dunwoody, commander of the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery, 17th Fires Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The soldiers will be organized into ten crews of 20 persons each. They will head to the so-called Tower fire in the Coleville National Forest north of Spokane.
read more here

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vietnam vet, retired state trooper collapses, dies while fighting wildfire

Vietnam vet, retired state trooper collapses, dies while fighting wildfire
13 FOX News
JULY 21, 2014

CARLTON, Wash. – The massive Carlton Complex Fire has destroyed between 150 and 200 homes, and the wildfire is showing no signs of stopping.

The fire claimed it’s first victim over the weekend — 67-year-old Robert Koczewski died while trying to keep the flames from destroying his home.

Robert and his wife watched the valley go up in flames and they’d seen it happen before, so they grabbed some water hoses and hoped for the best.

But this time Robert couldn’t withstand the physical demands; he collapsed and died of an apparent stroke while protecting his home.

After spending 26 years in the Marine Corps, and more than a decade with the Washington State Patrol, Robert and his wife retired to central Washington.
read more here

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Marines race straight toward a memorial site with 22 wooden crosses

Group of Camp Pendleton Marines race toward wildfire to save crosses
Crosses honor fallen Marines
10 News
Michael Chen
May 23, 2014

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - On this Memorial Day weekend, an inspiring story is emerging of a group of Marines racing toward the flames of a Camp Pendleton wildfire in a desperate bid to save wooden crosses honoring fallen Marines.

One of those 22 crosses memorialized Pfc. Victor Dew, the best friend of Cpl. Marvin Arnold. Dew was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

Last Friday, the memory of Arnold's friend would come rushing back, fanned by the flames of wildfires on Camp Pendleton.

Arnold saw the fire charge up a hill on First Sergeant's Hill -- in the northwest section of the base -- and straight toward a memorial site with 22 wooden crosses, some 10 feet tall.

He knew Dew's mother was visiting the base on Memorial Day weekend to see the cross for the first time.

"I knew that it would be kind of a heartbreak if she wasn't able to see it. There was a sense of urgency," said Arnold.
read more here

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Two fires erupted on the outskirts of Camp Pendleton

Pendleton Tomahawk Fire threatens Fallbrook; Naval Weapons Station closes
Posted: May 14, 2014

CAMP PENDLETON (CNS) - Two fires erupted on the outskirts of Camp Pendleton Wednesday amid dry, blisteringly hot conditions - one blackening thousands of acres on the eastern side of the base and another charring more than two dozen acres along Interstate 5 and forcing a full closure of the freeway for several hours.

The first of the two blazes began spreading about 9:45 a.m. at Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook then spread onto Camp Pendleton land, authorities said. A subsequent wind shift led to structure being threatened in Fallbrook.

Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook lost power, and will be closed Thursday.

As the flames quickly spread, authorities evacuated the station along with military housing in the De Luz area, and Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School and De Luz Child Development Center.

The O'Neill Heights housing area was also evacuated, but residents were allowed to return home tonight, according to base officials.
read more here

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Camp Pendleton fire burns more than 1,000 acres

Camp Pendleton fire burns more than 1,000 acres
Posted: Oct 05, 2013

A fire burning on Camp Pendleton has now consumed an estimated 1,000 acres, authorities said.

The blaze caused the evacuation of a nearby housing area and hospital patients, damaged three buildings and sent smoke billowing into the air, base officials said.

The non-injury fire was reported about 12:45 p.m. near Lake O'Neill near the center of the post, according to the officials, who said the fire was 15 percent contained as of 10:45 p.m.

The firefighters continued their efforts into the night and the officials if air support would continue in the dark.
read more here

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Firefighters with PTSD report lesson for veterans

Firefighters with PTSD report lesson for veterans
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 12, 2013

Researchers have been doing PTSD studies on rats. They have found PTSD in dogs and other animals but they still fail to see the difference between what originates automatically and what takes hold spiritually. The flight or fight response to traumatic situations is something that living things to automatically. A wildfire will cause animals to run away.
They go with their survival instinct. Most humans do the same thing.
Some humans do the opposite.
The difference comes from the spiritual part of a person. Some may try to pass this off as "it is their jobs to risk their lives" but no one seems to be looking at what "it" is that has them putting others first, choosing the jobs they do when they know that job could get them killed.

Yesterday was the 12th remembrance day of the worst events the US had experienced. It was a great example of the evil people are capable of at the same time it caused the inspirational. Most people ran away but others ran to help. If you want to pass that off as "it was their job" then try to explain what happened when average citizens stayed behind to help others escape. Try to explain what caused the police and firefighters to remain behind day after day until they had recovered as many of their brothers as possible. That was not just their jobs. It was personal to them.

If a woman is faced with a criminal coming after her, she will run. If she is faced with a criminal while her child is with her, she will fight for the sake of her child even if it costs her life to provide a chance for her child to live.

Traumatic events are traumatic events no matter what species have their lives on the line. Not all events are the same for everyone in the same group and what comes afterward depends on the situation. To limit the studies into just trying to figure out how to address the scientific response to the event limits the ability to heal naturally from them.

Everything needed to heal from events is within all of us. We learn from the events and adapt with scars. No one is ever the same after trauma because they are all life altering events but surviving them does not have to almost as dangerous as the event itself was.

"Studies agree that firefighters with a support system are less likely to show signs of PTSD."

When someone dies, extended family members and friends show up to offer support and share grieving. They do it because they understand what loss feels like. When a group of people grieve together, they also support together. That comes from the spirit.

Whenever you read about another study leaving out the spiritual, understand that is part of the problem in what they are looking for. They say that the spirit cannot be scientifically proven but there is evidence with what people do that proves the existence of what they want to dismiss claiming they cannot see it. It is there whenever people put others first even if it means they may die for someone else.
Va. Firefighters Seek Mental Health Help After 'Bad Call'

Henrico County firefighters no longer 'suck it up' after a bad call and seek help in the form of '911 for 911' and participate in debriefings.

Sept. 11--It took a "bad call" -- when a 13-year-old on a bicycle was fatally struck by a car on a winding road in Sandston -- for Henrico County firefighter and EMT Troy Cummings to realize the importance of mental health services available to fire department personnel.

Cummings and several other first responders on the scene had children about that age. Amid the rush of emotions, it took him 20 minutes longer than usual to fill out the report at the hospital.

When the unit returned to the station, licensed clinical social worker Steve Bard was waiting for their debriefing. Anytime there's a death involving children on a Henrico Division of Fire call, a mental health liaison or chaplain becomes the "911 for 911," chaplain Mike Woods said.

"Initially, you don't have any emotions," Cummings said of responding to a scene. During the debriefing, "it's not about what went right or what we could've done better. We talk about us."

Formal training and public awareness on mental health within fire departments across the nation increased after the Sept. 11 attacks. A culture shift from "suck it up" to firefighters encouraging one another to tap mental health services was already happening in Henrico, but the national conversation was just beginning.

Post-traumatic stress among firefighters and other rescue workers who responded to the World Trade Center attack has increased. About 12 percent reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, in 2003 and 2004, compared with 19 percent a few years later, according to The World Trade Center Health Registry, which tracks more than 71,000 people affected, including residents and rescue workers.

Rates of PTSD among firefighters nationwide range from 7 to 37 percent in various studies. Studies agree that firefighters with a support system are less likely to show signs of PTSD.
read more here

If you can understand what professional rescuers go thru then you are able to understand why they need so much more to heal than just taking a pill to numb them.

They need help to find what is inside of them to heal because what makes them different from the others running away also comes with what they need to recover from what they do for the sake of others. If you are able to understand this, then you are able to understand why veterans suffer as much as they do. Consider how long they put their lives on the line for the sake of others. They cannot be treated on the spot by crisis intervention teams but they can be as soon as possible. Much like the firefighters did not receive the emotional debrief at the scene, there was someone there waiting for them as soon as they got back. Think about it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Marine veterans among the 19 firefighters killed in Yarnell wildfire

Marine Veterans Among 19 Firefighters Killed
by Cpl. Chelsea Anderson
Jul 24, 2013

PRESCOTT, Ariz. - During the summer months in Arizona, fires are an ordinary occurrence. But the bravery shown by the Hotshot crew, 19 men who gave their lives saving the small town of Yarnell on June 30, was anything but commonplace.

It Was Sunday

Sunday was normally a day off for the Granite Mountain Hotshots, but a wildfire blazing outside of Yarnell that day had grown enough to put an end to any weekend plans. After a morning run at six, the men said goodbye to their kids, kissed their wives and donned their protective gear one final time to battle the 2,000-acre Yarnell Hill wildfire.

By the time the 20 members of the crew arrived on scene around 9 a.m., the fire was reaching abnormal temperatures for the time of day. But, the Hotshots were well prepared and put their training into action. There was no doubt in any of the leadership’s minds about the safety of the team. They knew what had to be done and got to work.

Six hours later though, and the fire behavior was beyond extreme. At this point, Prescott Fire Department Division Chief Darrell Willis, who was with a crew at a different spot on the fire, tuned in to the Granite Mountain radio frequency to check on them.

With the blaze growing, he listened to the Hotshots play-by-play crackle through the radio speakers.
read more here

19 firefighters killed in Arizona blaze; 'Our entire crew was lost'

Friday, July 19, 2013

Veterans train to combat wildfires

Veterans train to combat wildfires
Cortez Journal
By Tobie Baker Journal staff writer
Thursday, July 18, 2013

Joshua Jones served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now he’s training alongside other veterans in the San Juan National Forest.

A 25-year-old Army veteran from Ardmore, Okla., Jones is learning what it takes to fight wildfires. The career is dangerous, he admits, but his family is simply thankful their son is on American soil.

“My family is used to me being gone overseas,” Jones said. “It’s a hazardous job, but they are definitely glad that I’m here.”

Jones, who served in the Army from 2006 to 2012, is one of six former military service members currently taking part in the Veterans Fire Corps. The program aims to retrain returning veterans with the skills to protect public lands from the threat of wildfire. For Jones, working together with other veterans is the most rewarding aspect.

“We all have that common ground to stand on,” Jones said. “It’s awesome to have that camaraderie and bond that we instantly have. It’s an amazing experience for us.”

Working with Jones and the other veterans is helping Tim Stygar readjust to civilian life. After serving in the Army from 2002 to 2005, including a tour in Iraq, Stygar said he’s not only thankful he can lean on the others for support, he’s also thankful for the opportunity to one day become a hotshot firefighter. He lost his job last year.
read more here

Monday, July 8, 2013

U.S. again prepares to ax wildfire prevention funds even now

While mourning 19 dead, U.S. again prepares to ax wildfire prevention funds
By Bill Dedman
Investigative Reporter
NBC News

The Obama administration, which will send Vice President Joe Biden to Arizona on Tuesday to mourn 19 firefighters killed in the Yarnell Hill fire, is cutting federal programs meant to control the spread of exactly that kind of catastrophic wildland fire.

Fire and land management officials are warning that more firefighters will be in danger, and more homes will be burned, if the nation continues to spend more on putting out forest fires while spending less on preventing them. But federal officials, while acknowledging the danger, say firefighting efforts are costing so much that they're leaving less money for prevention.
read more here

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Solemn procession for Arizona 19 fallen firefighters 100 miles long

In Arizona, a solemn 100-mile procession for fallen firefighters
Nick Valencia and Emanuella Grinberg
Sun July 7, 2013

People nationwide travel to Arizona for procession honoring hotshot unit
The procession left Phoenix Sunday to begin nearly 100-mile journey to Prescott
"These men are heroes. They've earned the respect of everyone in this line," onlooker says

(CNN) -- Crowds lined the streets for a public procession from Phoenix to Prescott, Arizona, on Sunday in honor of 19 firefighters who died last week on the job.

People with no personal connection to members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot unit traveled from across the state and around the country to pay respects. The team died as they battled the Yarnell Hill Fire, which was sparked by lightning some 3.5 miles west of Yarnell.

"These men are heroes. They've earned the respect of everyone in this line," an onlooker told CNN affiliate KTVK as he awaited the procession in Phoenix.

Hearses carrying each casket left the coroner's office in Phoenix on Sunday afternoon to begin the nearly 100-mile procession to the unit's hometown of Prescott.
read more here

Monday, July 1, 2013

19 firefighters killed in Arizona blaze; 'Our entire crew was lost'

19 firefighters killed in Arizona blaze; 'Our entire crew was lost'
By Holly Yan
Mon July 1, 2013

The 6,000-acre fire is the deadliest blaze for firefighters since the 9/11 attacks
It has destroyed more than 100 structures northwest of Phoenix and is still burning
19 members of a "hotshot" team from Prescott died in the wildfire
The team's job was to create a firebreak and get as close to the fire as safely possible
Are you near the Arizona wildfire? Please send your photos, videos and updates to iReport. But make safety your top priority.
Read more about this story from CNN affiliates KPHO, KTVK, KPNX and KNXV.

(CNN) -- They were part of an elite squad who confronted wildfires up close, setting up barriers to stop their destructive spread.

But the inferno blazing across central Arizona proved too much.

The 19 firefighters were killed Sunday while fighting the Yarnell Hill fire, northwest of Phoenix. It is the deadliest blaze for firefighters since the 9/11 attacks.

"Our entire crew was lost," Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo told reporters Sunday night. "We just lost 19 of some of the finest people you'll ever meet. Right now, we're in crisis."

The tragedy decimated the Prescott Fire Department by about 20%. Fraijo said one member of the team was not with the other crew members and survived.
read more here

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Military veterans find new firefight

Military veterans find new firefight
The (Medford, Ore.) Mail Tribune
Published: June 30, 2012

Armed with a fire hose attached to a pump that's pulling water from a fold-a-tank, firefighter Jeff Darner kept a fire-drowning spray on the tree in front of him.

Behind him, fellow firefighters Charles Dusenberry and Michael Tucker worked to keep the engine running and the water flowing.

The men are veterans whose experience in the military will be counted on as members of Team 10, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management squad of wildland firefighters that includes 10 young military veterans on the 20-person team.

Based at the BLM's Medford District, the team has grown out of a nationwide program by Uncle Sam to put young veterans to work and on a career path.

It is one of three teams being organized in Oregon and Washington, including one in Klamath Falls and another in Spokane. Several other teams of young veterans are being mustered in California and Nevada.
read more here

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brush fire at Camp Pendleton 90 percent contained

Brush fire at Camp Pendleton 90 percent contained
June 27, 2012

A fire that has burned nearly 400 acres poses no threats to buildings or residents, base officials reported.


CAMP PENDLETON – A fire that has burned nearly 400 acres in a remote part of the Marine base is 90 percent contained, base officials said.

The fire was first seen about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, about 3 miles northwest of the Marine Corps Air Station. Since then, the fire has burned about 395 acres.
read more here

Fort Carson scrambled to build fire breaks

Fire Forces Air Force Academy to Evacuate
Jun 28, 2012

Army combat engineers rushed to stop a major wildfire that left tens of thousands of people homeless, from consuming the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

The military school for officer candidates relocated about 550 cadets off academy grounds Wednesday night, 200 new cadets were moved to the University of Colorado's

Colorado Springs campus and 350 moved in with local sponsor families, the Army said.

Commanders suspended all training programs as an engineer battalion from the Army's Fort Carson near Colorado Springs scrambled to build fire breaks around the 18,500-acre school's boundaries.

The Army, which initially committed 121 troops, along with construction and demolition equipment, to helping the Academy -- said in a statement Fort Carson would devote as much resources as it had to fighting the Waldo Canyon fire, which doubled in size Wednesday and blackened more than 30 square miles by Thursday morning.

An aerial photograph taken Wednesday and published in The Denver Post Thursday showed approximately 300 homes, all of them inside the Colorado Springs city limits, evidently reduced to charred rubble.
read more here


News: Fort Carson assists displaced service members, Families

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Families still waiting for National Guard to cover damages from fire

Herriman fire victims still awaiting payment one year later

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Sep 21 2011
Robin Smugala still has the picture of her scorched, smoking home taken exactly one year ago, a damaged but still-standing victim of the fire that wreaked havoc on the Herriman hillsides.

While repairs on the home are almost complete, the couple is one of many still waiting for the National Guard to pay for the damage. The fire was sparked during a live-fire training exercise at the Army’s Camp Williams, on the southern side of the mountain.

Herriman residents have filed roughly 1,300 claims since the fire, and the Army has paid out about $4.3 million to cover the damage. But as of Wednesday, 34 claims remain open, leaving families like the Smugalas wondering if the Army National Guard will honor its promise to put things right.
read more here