MOMENT OF SILENCE HONORING THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE CALIFORNIA FIRES; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 152
(House of Representatives - September 12, 2018)

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[Pages H8157-H8158]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




MOMENT OF SILENCE HONORING THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE CALIFORNIA 
                                 FIRES

  (Mr. LaMALFA asked and was given permission to address the House for 
1 minute.)
  Mr. LaMALFA. Mr. Speaker, California and the West, as has become all 
too frequent, have experienced devastating fires this year. The loss of 
life and damage to property has been immense, and we are just partially 
through the fire season.
  Our firefighters, in particular, whether they are U.S. Forest 
Service, Cal Fire, volunteers, contractors, or municipal, have worked 
hard and sacrificed to protect the communities and resources, such as 
the firefighters I saw in northern California all the way up from Los 
Angeles County.
  At the peak of California's summer fires, there were more than 14,000 
firefighters from 17 States joined in this effort. The work is brutal. 
It is hot, smoky, tiring, and there are few breaks, if any. These 
recent fires took a heavy toll on these men and women.
  In July, the Ferguson fire took the lives of Braden Varney and 
Captain

[[Page H8158]]

Brian Hughes, both killed while battling flames near Yosemite National 
Park.
  Later that month, the Mendocino Complex fires, on record as the 
largest wildfire in our State's history, burning more than 459,000 
acres, took the life of Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett from Utah, who 
died after he was injured while working on an active portion of the 
Ranch fire.
  The Carr fire in my district was one of the most severe fires our 
State has ever seen. It devastated 229,000 acres, destroying nearly 
1,100 homes, and took the lives of eight people, including three 
firefighters and one utility lineman: Jeremy Stoke, Don Smith, Andrew 
Brake, and Jay Ayeta.
  This fire was so large and hot that it created its own weather 
system, including a fire tornado the size of three football fields with 
winds up to 165 miles an hour created by the fire, leaving families 
with little time to find their way through bottleneck traffic to 
safety.
  Tragically, the fast-growing flames entrapped four residents unable 
to escape their homes in time, including Daniel Bush of Keswick, as 
well as Melody Bledsoe and her two great-grandchildren, James and Emily 
Roberts.
  As the flames continued, more than 5,000 firefighters and emergency 
personnel put their lives on the line battling the fire, at times 
working more than 24-hour shifts.
  Some of these individuals, as local residents, lost their own homes 
in the flames, yet they spent weeks protecting others. The courage of 
these men and women in some of the darkest times of these affected 
areas will long be remembered.
  I thank my colleagues from California, together today for our support 
of each other. We have all felt this each in our own way as still more 
fires rage on right now throughout our State.
  Mr. Speaker, I now ask that the House observe a moment of silence for 
all of those who lost their lives in these terrible fires and to stand 
in solidarity with the many individuals who are now starting the long, 
painful process of rebuilding their lives.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Francis Rooney of Florida). Will all 
Members please rise for a moment of silence.

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