The devastating wildfires in Northern Californian saw the arrival of firefighters from across the country and as far away as Australia. They also drew a crew of hotshots, special forces trained to fight fires in the toughest terrain, from American Samoa. The crew of five veterans and 11 rookie firefighters arrived in Redding, Calif., where they sang a celebratory song and performed a haka, the traditional Maori dance of strength and unity, before joining Crew 61 from the Helena Fire Department.
The Samoans are renowned among firefighters for their endurance, agility and skill as hand crews, who manually dig around a burning area to prevent fire from spreading. They are also known to sing as they work. One Lori Light recorded them doing both, marching down the Shasta-Trinity Forest and giving thanks with the praise song “Fa’afetai i le Atua.” "Every kid on the islands knows this song from Sunday School," noted one grateful viewer. "We sing when we are tired and need strength." Take a break from the week's news to listen. They will lift you up.