Exhausted San Diego County firefighters return from burn zone

Posted at 11:32 PM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 02:35:40-04

LAKESIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - Tired firefighters, including one featured in a viral photo, returned home to Lakeside Tuesday after almost two weeks of battling the Ferguson Fire in Mariposa County.

James Paterson was captured in a photograph shared on Twitter with his head resting on his chest in apparent exhaustion.

Paterson’s strike team was on day 10 of its deployment to the Sierra Nevada foothills.  

"That was one of those really long shifts," he said.  "It was 5 a.m., and the sun had come up. My engineer had just caught me, having a hard time keeping my eyes open."

"I think it’s a glimpse into what we do," said Shawn McKenna, who took the picture "It’s beyond the red trucks, lights, and sirens. It’s the raw emotions."

Paterson was part of a three-person team that went to the Ferguson Fire on July 16.  They spent 16 days at the fire.