Containment efforts are winding down for the wildfires that have ravaged Northern California this month, but not all the dangers have passed. A handout is circulating among firefighters that details the warning signs of extreme physical and emotional stress.
"There can be chills, thirst, fatigue nausea, nightmares, uncertainty, fear, guilt," explained Bob Ellis, a former Eureka fire battalion chief who now oversees a counseling program for Cal Fire’s Employee Support Services. He's helping coordinate a relatively new peer counseling program deployed in the field during a destructive wildfire.
Inside a long trailer at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, base camp for the wildfires burning in the North Bay, firefighters can speak to a counselor individually or a fellow firefighter about whatever they may want to get off their chest.
"People who have the same training, the same experiences, they can come together and they can talk," Ellis said. "The thing that we want people to recognize is they are not alone in this."