After beating back the most devastating and deadly wildfires in California's history over the past two years, first responders haven't had a break.

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.""The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

California wildfires, 2017-2019

In 2017, 1.5 million acres were scorched and over 11,600 properties were destroyed by the most destructive wildfires in California's history up to that time. These records were soon surpassed as flames covered another 1.67 million acres in 2018.

This time last year, first responders in Butte County were working around the clock in an effort to contain the Camp Fire which began on Nov. 8, 2018. It ultimately blazed over 150,000 acres, destroyed nearly 19,000 structures and took 85 lives. The same day the Camp Fire started, the Woolsey Fire began its path across nearly 97,000 acres of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, nearly 200,000 acres have been burned by 6,190 wildfire incidents in 2019.

These include the Tick Fire, which began in L.A. County on Oct. 24 and spread 4,615 acres; the Ventura County Maria Fire, which started on Oct. 31 and covered 9,999 acres; and the Kincade Fire, which began on Oct 23 and scorched 77,758 acres across Sonoma County.

A barrage of smaller fires, dangerously high winds and widespread evacuation orders have demanded nonstop attention from firefighters, police officers and other emergency responders.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of California's first responders, these fires are now 100% contained.

Support and sacrifice

Many celebrities have fled the region, raising awareness about fire safety and recognizing first responders along the way. Actor John Cena, who stars as a firefighter in an upcoming Paramount film, wanted to do more.

In honor of National First Responders Day on Oct. 28, 2019, Cena pledged to donate $500,000 to support the firefighters working tirelessly to keep Californians safe.

"In times like this, when people are giving their lives and working around the clock, what they need from us is resources," Cena said in a video posted to Twitter. "This is the right thing to do, and I'm doing my part to help the cause. I wish everyone the best of luck … you are our heroes."

Cena's half-million-dollar donation has gone to the California Fire Foundation and the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation.

Actor Matthew McConaughey also stepped in to provide support. Initially scheduled to host an event on National First Responders Day to recognize the efforts of first responders during 2018, McConaughey's plans were interrupted by the most recent wildfires. Instead, he partnered with Operation BBQ Relief and volunteers to serve 800 hot meals to firefighters and other emergency response personnel.

These donations and dinners make a difference, but they can't bring back what's been lost. According to a CNN report, many first responders lost their own homes in 2018 and still reported for duty.

During statewide crises like these, firefighters and police officers get into their uniforms and race back to help out as soon as their immediate family members are safely evacuated. Some continue working even without knowing whether their own homes and families are in danger. When faced with the choice of saving their own belongings or helping their neighboring residents get to safety, they instinctively chose the latter.

"It's my community. It's where I grew up. It's something I absolutely had to do," Colusa Police Department Seargent Jarrod Hughes told CNN reporters last November after losing his home to the Camp Fire. "There was no question about it. It was, get my family to safety so I can get in and get back up there and help everybody else."