ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. – Firefighters battling the Matts Creek Wildfire are used to spending Thanksgiving away from family but have made a new one in Central Virginia.
Over the past 11 days, firefighters have been on the ground and in the air over the Jefferson National Forest as they worked to contain the Matts Creek Wildfire.
On Thursday, the firefighters got to get off their lines a little earlier than usual to come back for a Thanksgiving meal.
“It’s not often I get a Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving. Of course, we eat but this is pretty special that they’re helping us make sure we get that Turkey and dressing…hopefully some good gravy,” Mark Jamieson said.
Jamieson is an Ops Section Chief with the Southern Area Incident Management Red Team. Jamieson like many other people on the team has spent holidays away from their families when they get the call to help.
“My wife and kids I think are used to it. It’s not my first Thanksgiving not at the house,” Jamieson said.
While they may not be with their immediate families, the team working to put out the fire has created their own kind of family as they’ve spent the past several days with each other.
“This Thanksgiving is like many others I’ve had in the past…away from home and family but with fire family,” Allan McMillian said.
Many of the firefighters will get to return home in the next couple of days. With the fire at 84% contained as of Thursday night, the focus shifts to restoration efforts.