Massive forest fires continue to threaten homes and lives across the Pacific Northwest, and on Saturday the AP reported on emergency response efforts in central and eastern Washington state. Accompanying the story was the photo above, in which an Okanogan, Washington man named Brad Craig thanks firefighters for saving his home. It's a nice moment, though if you look closely you'll notice that Craig happened to be wearing a t-shirt that given the circumstances is quite ironic:
The shirt says "Lower Taxes + Less Government = More Freedom." You can buy one here on the site of the FreedomWorks Tea Party organization.
In a related matter, 10 different government organizations are mentioned in the AP story about the large-scale coordinated response that worked to Craig's benefit.
- The U.S. Forest Service
- Okanogan County Emergency Management
- The Air Force (whose Fairchild base is being used as a mobilization center)
- The Washington state government, whose governor requested a federal emergency declaration to help facilitate firefighting
- The Obama administration, which issued that declaration
- Governments from Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and California that are contributing resources for use in Washington
More than 1,000 people are involved in fighting fires in the Okanogan area, the AP says.
Update, 11:25 a.m.: To be clear, I understand that FreedomWorks has not literally called for the elimination of public fire departments. (If it did, it wouldn't be the first time that proposal has been made by a libertarian group or activist.) FreedomWorks has, however, opposed funding for federal disaster relief funding of the sort that Washington state has requested and received from FEMA to fight ongoing fires in the Okanogan area. FEMA also paid for more than $2 million in fire-related infrastructure repairs in Okanogan County in 2014.