We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mother Nature's rains and to the local volunteer fire departments. While this letter of gratitude comes rather late, I nevertheless wish to publicly thank the volunteer firefighters for their great skill and hard-working efforts while fighting the wildfire at Shawnee. I am grateful that no homes were destroyed or damaged. I am thankful that no one was seriously injured. When I saw the aerial photo published in the paper showing the scope of the forest fire, I saw more plainly what these dedicated groups of volunteers were up against.
I realize that the charred remains of this devastating forest fire will never decompose like other deadwood in untouched areas of the forest. I understand how this gigantic burn-scar on Shawnee's soil will stand as a stark visual reminder for generations to come. When I reflect about the fire I also think about the other hard hits Shawnee has taken such as ice storms and all the clear cuts and no doubt, hundreds of acres of salvage clear-cuts are to come. Shawnee sure has been taking a beating these days. It's getting harder and harder to find an undisturbed place just to sit in the forest. In spite of these grim reminders, I realize that the Forest Fire of 2009 could have been far worse if not for the labors of the volunteer fire departments.
To the Nile, Washington, Union, Rarden, Valley, Rosemount, Rush, Morgan, Otway, South Shore Volunteer Fire Departments and any other fire departments that I may have unintentionally omitted, on behalf of the Voices for the Forest, I give my deepest thanks for not only helping to save homes and lives but also I thank you for saving other precious areas in the forest that so many of us hold dear to our souls.