(Update: Adding video, comments)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The impact of the wildfires that have been spreading across Central Oregon can take a toll on everyone, including the families of firefighters working on the lines.
The Hale family is just one of many who have had to adjust their lives.
Bre Hale, a Bend resident and wife of a firefighter, says her husband has always played a role in serving his community.
“He left for the military when he was 18. He decided he wanted to be an infantryman," she said Wednesday.
With Max now gone fighting the Bootleg fire in Klamath County, Hale says it can be challenging, especially without having the certainty of when he’ll be back.
“He actually just left last week," she said. "We have a joke where basically, if you make plans to do something, that means you’re going to be called out on fire. Normally, they’re gone for two weeks at a time, and that can be extended. You don’t know if it’s going to be extended or not."
Max and Bre Hale have two children, ages 1 1/2 and 4. Right now, the children's grandparents are around to offer company, but Hale said most of time, when Max is gone, she feels like a single mom. She relies on the support of others to keep a sense of normalcy.
“The people that I lean on are other moms in the community, that are stay-at-home moms,” she said.
Hale added that her husband's frequent absence over the last six fire seasons has been rough on the kids. The good part, she said, is that her children are slowly adjusting to their dad being a firefighter, and they are grasping the concept that even though he’s called to go, he’ll come back.
In her efforts to support her husband, who is risking his life daily to protect the public, along with other firefighters, Hale urges the community to play a part in helping to pass new legislation aimed to improve the benefits of Grassroots Wildland Firefighters. More information can be found here.