This week has been an especially stressful, taxing and emotional time for California residents with at least 21 major wildfires sweeping across more than 191,000 acres destroying at least 3,500 homes and businesses in our state and also claiming lives. Our thoughts are with all those impacted by these destructive and deadly fires. We know some of our members have been affected either by loss, evacuations, road closures, or even job sites shut down. Some of our members have been putting in very long hours as emergency management, firefighters, law enforcement, dispatchers and communications operators, and conservationists. Thank you for your service, your professionalism, your emergency response skills and for the time you have spent away from home and family.

These fires broke out as we were still recovering from the shock of the massacre of many innocent people enjoying a concert in Las Vegas. One evil individual meticulously carried out a plan to take away and destroy lives. We don’t often receive news when our members are impacted by something like this, but we did receive word that the father of one of our valued members was injured by gunfire. We are keeping all those impacted by this disturbing and deadly attack in our thoughts and prayers. Again, we are grateful to both citizens and first responders who did what they could to help the injured and to help others escape.

There are many heroes among us and it is good to see them shine bright in times of tragedy. As a member of the Governor’s Medal of Valor Review Board, I learn of the many first responders who have risked their lives to save the lives of others. We have some remarkable public safety professionals among us, and I thank them for their passion and commitment to public safety. May we all have safe days ahead.

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