After the recent Idyllwild-area fire, Idyllwild residents, community venues and the Town Crier were profuse in gratitude to firefighters, a much needed expression of our relief.
We were so fortunate to have so many Idyllwild area, state and national firefighters and helicopter crews, and patrolling county sheriffs on the job.
We were also fortunate to have the dedicated service of hundreds of generous volunteers, from fire crews to locals — in particular, the members of MDP, Idyllwild Mountain Disaster Preparedness.
MDP volunteers provided information-packed electronic messages to area residents and evacuees in a manner of neighborly concern, and the presence of their calm, familiar faces at highway checkpoints eased much of the stress of fire evacuation. In a few cases, the staffing of checkpoints with community volunteers gave harried locals who had forgotten to carry identifying residential documentation an alternative face-recognition pass to return home after the fire. Recollection of this humanized process will make it easier to get cooperation in any future evacuation.
The Silent Valley (Poppet Flats) volunteer I met at the Banning side of 243 on July 21 told me that a local named Nancy had been at the post for more than 12 hours when he stepped in, just one example of extraordinary MDP effort on our behalf.
MDP’s Mike Feyder was everywhere to be seen, conferring with officials and responding to the concerns of community members, and Francoise Frígola put forth a heroic effort to keep Facebook postings and other electronic communications about the fire up-to-the-minute. The dedication of MDP members came at a cost to personal evacuation plans, to meal schedules and even to normal sleep patterns. Idyllwild is so fortunate to have the MDP volunteers.