“Perseverance is the act of true role models and heroes.”  – Liza M. Wiemer

LIGHTENING by Hannes P. Rudolph

Photo by Hannes P. Rudolph

They sit in the fire towers day after day and month after month, these remarkable men and women who scan the landscape tirelessly for signs of smoke and fire. And they do this in isolation – spending their time with only the company of nature to break the monotony of solitude.  I think it takes a special kind of courage to spend vast amounts of time alone – so much time in seclusion would drive ordinary people mad. At least that is my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I do like to have quiet moments, time alone to reflect on life and love and all things meaningful. But I am no hero. I do not feel I have the strength of mind to be a recluse, even if it’s only a temporary thing. However, the men and women I write about are heroes. The work they do is not glamorous or thrilling but it does save lives – whether animal, bird, or human. They also save vast tracts of wilderness from the inevitable destruction of fire.

After the wildfires that swept through Fort McMurray this spring I have found a new appreciation and deeper respect for the women and men who climb their towers several times throughout the day to scan the forest surrounding them for any indication of flames – whether caused by lightning strike or the careless act of a human being.  These men and women are our first line of defense against the ravages of wildfires. It is they who first sound the alarm, these sentinels of the forest green. I salute them and I thank them for their vigilance and perseverance, these unsung heroes.


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