In the midst of the Carr Fire’s destruction, Northern California communities have come together to show their appreciation for first responders fighting the massive blaze.
Signs thanking firefighters and responders are in front yards, on fences and taped to telephone poles across Redding and Shasta, where the fire has burned more than 103,000 acres since it began last week.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported that more than 3,600 fire personnel are battling the flames – and Northern California residents have been showing their support for them in creative ways.
Saying thanks in small ways
Wearing rubber boots and a red dress, 2-year-old Gracie Lutz thanked her local firefighters by delivering warm burritos. According to CNN affiliate KGO, Gracie’s two uncles and grandfather are currently helping fight the Carr Fire.
Hailey Root’s father is also helping with the Carr Fire. She made a poster and nearly 100 chocolate chip cookies for first responders to show her appreciation.
“I felt that even something as small as a poster or cookies would bring some happiness into this hard time,” Root told CNN.
Many of the colorful handmade signs peppering the roadways in Northern California have been made by children. Redding resident Nichole Grubbs-Miller said that she and her sister’s kids came together to make posters thanking the first responders that saved their hometown.
“My sister and brother and I were all born and raised in Redding and our kids have been too,” she said. “We wanted to show our gratitude for fighting to save our city.”
Grubbs-Miller says that community members are all looking for ways to help in the wake of the fire’s destruction, and are donating, volunteering and offering displaced families food and shelter.
“There is an unexplainable amount of grief in our city, but also an unexplainable amount of love,” she said. “There are no words for it.”
Businesses give back
Businesses are also giving back to first responders and the community. Jaime Borjon, the owner of Old Skool Barber Shop in Redding, showed his support the best way he knew how: with some fresh haircuts.
According to Evan Buchan, a barber at the shop, his team has been giving out free haircuts for emergency personnel and got a call to give haircuts to about 90 members of the National Guard last weekend.
“We jumped at the opportunity to help,” Buchan told CNN. “We spent the last two evenings giving as many haircuts as they needed for free. It’s the least we can do to show our support.”
Other local businesses from the neighborhood Vitamin Shoppe to a realty office have put up posters thanking firefighters for their service.
Guy Fieri joins the effort
A hotel and local restaurant in Redding even teamed up with celebrity chef Guy Fieri to help feed families displaced by evacuation orders.
“Guy was great,” Kirk Harrison, who helped coordinate the event as the director of food and beverage at the Sheraton Hotel in Redding, told CNN. “It was nice spending time with him and his team and seeing their dedication to our cause.”
As of Monday, the Carr Fire had claimed the lives of six people and 19 are still reported missing, according to officials. The California Department of Forestry and Fire protection reported that it is only 23% contained.