Photo of wearied firefighters resurfaces as California wildfires continue to rage

Fire fighters in California have been battling wildfire flames for days now, and the fight is taking its toll. So far, thousands of citizens have been evacuated and 59 have died in the fires, but that doesn’t stop the brave men from rushing in and doing the job that others won’t – putting a stop to an out-of-control wildfire.

Everyone knows what firefighting looks like on the public end, but it isn’t often citizens get an inside look at the life of a working firefighter, so last December during the Thomas fires, the Kern County Fire Department made a post to change that.

“This is a photo of our Tehachapi Wildland Fire Crew 11,” the post read.

“Our crews have worked hundreds of hours to help battle the Thomas Fire. These firefighters work 24-hour shifts and are pushed to the point of exhaustion. Thank you, for your dedication and hard work to help the communities of Southern California.”

The picture shows dirty, exhausted firemen laying in a patch of grass and using their packs for pillows as they try to grab a nap before the next round of fighting fires begins.

The revealing photo of the behind the scenes reality of firefighting is striking – as if we even needed a reminder to appreciate the first responders risking their lives across the country.

So far, this year’s California wildfires continue to spread at an alarming rate. If you would like to donate to those in need due to the fires, officials encourage financial rather than material donations, as often material donations have nowhere to go and take manpower away from where it needs to be. Several donations links, as suggested by TIME magazine, can be found below.

Don’t forget to thank your local fire fighters, someday they might be the only thing standing between you and a fire.

IAFF’s Disaster Relief Fund.

California Fire Foundation.

CDF California Firefighters Benevolent Foundation.