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Bend woman talks of family challenges as her husband works to fight the Bootleg Fire

(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.

Bend / Local News / News / Top Stories / video - DO NOT USE

Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.



  1. My friend owns a sign company. Last year I had him make a 3 foot by 10 foot sign that said “Thank you Firefighters!” and I hung it on the side of my garage facing the street. Someone came onto my property in the middle of the night, tore it down and threw it on the ground. I would love to put it back up again but Im afraid it will just happen again. So I will just say it here “THANK YOU FIREFIGHTERS!”

      1. Dude, this is a great example of you commenting when nobody asked you anything. Nobody is talking to you Barnyard, nobody. Get off the internet old man, you’re embarrassing this town

        1. Oh, so now I’m not allowed to share a nice little anecdote brought to mind by a nice person’s comments, like you or anyone else here can do? Nope, that’s your issue, never mine. I know my role, and you clearly do not.

      2. Thank goodness it was treated positively. I spent the $100 on the sign not asking for, nor wanting, any personal gain what-so-ever. And to see someone do that to the sign just burned me. Maybe Ill give it a go again.

    1. Yes Thankyou to the men and women who are risking their lives to fight these fires. To the people who destroy the signs I am sure will kick it right back at you.

  2. This is not news. I’m glad he does his job but they know what it entails so it’s nothing extraordinary this time so it’s not news.

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