Erica Robbie: A million ‘thank-yous’ and more |

Erica Robbie: A million ‘thank-yous’ and more

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times

Is it possible to adequately thank a stranger for sacrificing his or her own life and livelihood to save our own?

I’m fairly certain the answer is no, but I want to throw the question out there in case anyone, or better yet, a firefighter, has any ideas.

Because while I’m sure such gestures as buying a sandwich or simply adhering to local fire restrictions are appreciated, they fall short in thinking about the long, hot, sweaty, smoky, tireless hours these brave men and women have spent not only saving our lives, but also the sacred little valley we all proudly call home.

When Pitkin County emergency manager Valerie MacDonald pointed out to me last year that wildfires are among the greatest risks to our local economy, the threat felt serious, not imminent.

“While our No. 1 priority during a wildfire is always life safety, followed by protecting property, the devastating impact to our local tourism economy cannot be overlooked,” MacDonald told me in March 2017. “People don’t like looking at burned-out mountainsides with black trees. A devastating wildfire would also impact air quality and infrastructure such as roads, water and utilities. It would definitely be a blow to our local economy.”

Our local heroes and hundreds more from all over have fought fire to protect our lives, economy and hundreds of homes that would have otherwise been engulfed in flames. And for that, we owe them everything.