Support shown for fire crews
by Lenny Roberts
The price tag for fighting the Wolf Fire has surpassed $14 million,
according to the latest estimate, and the 21,465-acre fire should
be contained today.
While the Wolf Fire, in its 14th day, continues to scorch Ojai's
backcountry, local residents have been warming the hearts of
the firefighters in a different way.
In one effort, students of Topa Topa Elementary School presented
posters and 600 pounds of watermelon to firefighters at their
Soule Park base camp. Each student raised $2 for the watermelons
in an effort led by the school's second grade moms.
Food for the mind was provided by staff from the Ojai Library.
They have been delivering reading materials to help the firefighters
relax and prepare for their next shift.
Crews, who put in 12- to 15-hour shifts, are being housed in
tents in Soule Park in Ojai. Library staff from the other Ventura
County libraries have also sent books and magazines to the Ojai
Library to be delivered to the fire crews.
"The donated paperback books and magazines have been well-received,"
said a library representative, "and staff have been pleased
to know that they are able to help those who have been working
so hard to protect our mountains."
Medical aid is often needed by the hard-working crews, said Mike
Ellingson, public relations adviser for Ojai Valley Community
Hospital. "Several of the firefighters coming back into
their camp at Soule Park are experiencing dehydration problems,"
"We started a program last night of sending a doctor, along
with necessary fluid supplements, over to the camp each night
to help those individuals in need of fluid intake," Ellingson
said. "The team arrives around 6 p.m. each night."
In a sight for the fire crews' sore eyes, newly crowned beauties
Miss Ojai Cassie Murphy, Miss Teen Ojai Brittany Daly and Miss
Pre-Teen Ojai Jackie VanEtten presented them with a banner made
by local schoolkids.
These gestures, along with the other efforts, including free
massages, smoothies and message buttons, have gone a long way
to reviving the morale at the fire camp. "No serious injuries
occurred on this large incident, which is quite remarkable,"
wrote Wolf Fire Incident Commander Aaron Gelobter in a letter
of appreciation. "We feel your efforts and extended kindness
helped us achieve this success."
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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Pre-Teen Ojai Jackie VanEtten, Miss Ojai Cassie Murphy and Miss
Teen Ojai Brittany Daly presented a banner of support for the
more than 1,100 crew members of the Wolf Fire.