Group of firefighters believes Rough Fire is a calling

A special group of firefighters believes the Rough Fire is more than a firefight -- it's a calling.
HUME LAKE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Weather and strategy seem to have helped firefighters gain some advantage in the battle against the Rough Fire. Nearly 40,000 acres have burned, and 450 structures near Hume Lake are threatened. Despite several days of work, the fire is just 3 percent contained.

It's extremely smoky at Hume Lake, but the fact that Action News was even there was good news on Friday. One day earlier, it was too dangerous to even go there. Firefighters were setting backfires between the dam on the left and Buck Rock on the right. That was a successful operation, and it's a lot safer at Hume Lake.

From above the lake, a clear picture of the damage forms. Gray and black cover the ground as ash and charred trees are the remnants of the Rough Fire. Small fires along the side of the road are active reminders of the work firefighters have done to protect the Christian Camp on the lake and dozens of homes.

More than 1,600 firefighters came from all over the state and the country, but we found a few fighting for more than just the people who are affected.

"We don't ever ask for donations. We don't ever have fundraisers. We just say, 'OK, God. Where you guide, you provide,'" said John White of Firefighters for Christ.

Firefighters for Christ felt a special, personal calling here. The emergency responding missionaries travel from disaster to disaster across the globe, but Hume Lake is where they've held a conference every year since the 1970s.

Like their annual guests, the people who live and work at the camp are closely monitoring the progress -- some from the Fresno office and a few on site.

The folks who didn't evacuate know Thursday's backfires and Friday's late smoke cover are good signs as the flames spread around the lake and toward Buck Rock a few miles away.

"I'm not aware of any other fire activity beyond that. It's just moving slowly right now," said Bill Carroll with Hume Lake guest relations.

Camp directors are looking ahead and trying to figure out what to do with the Country Fair, which is their fundraiser for the year. It's scheduled for two weeks from now, but as of Friday, no decision on whether it should be held or canceled has been made. null
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