A young boy and his father handed out water bottles and popsicles last weekend to the firefighters battling the Holy Fire in Riverside and Orange counties – a simple gesture to thank the crews who defended their home from the 22,700-acre wildfire.
The still-burning fire has threatened the Villalobos' Corona home nearly since it erupted in the Cleveland National Forest on Aug. 6 and, while firefighters made progress to contain the blaze last weekend, hot and humid conditions bore down on firefighters from across the state.
The Villalobos family watched in awe as crews with bulldozers cut a containment line to stop the blaze from progressing towards their home. The Holy Fire was 64 percent contained by Tuesday.
"My son was amazed by the teamwork that took place," said Kevin Villalobos, a retired Riverside County sheriff's deputy.
Villalobos said his sons asked if they could hand out water to the firemen and 8-year-old Aaden Villalobos came up with another idea.
"That is when my son asked, 'Can I share some of my of Otter Pops with them?'"
Two fire trucks loaded with more crews, these from the San Diego area, began to unload in their driveway and walked along their fence towards the burnt area, Villalobos said.
One by one, the eight-year-old perched on a ladder and his father handed the firefighters a water bottle and a popsicle.
'Want popsicles?" "You guys are the best." "Thank you, you guys rock," the Villalobos can be heard saying in a video recorded by the boy's mother, Lori Villalobos.
As each firefighter passed, they uttered a "thank you" to the family but Lori Villalobos said the gesture was nothing compared to what the crews had done.
"Don’t thank us, that’s nothing. Thank you."