ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED FRIDAY, JULY 6, 2012: Hundreds of firefighters are now on their way home -- or headed to another fire.
The folks who have been cheering them on since the start told 11 News that in some ways, they'll be sad to see them go.
For so many firefighters, they said they’ve never experienced community spirit or support like they've seen in the Springs. They collected more than 50 signs and posters off a fence near their camp at Holmes Middle School, all from the people cheering them on.
It’s been an amazing sight for firefighters as they return to camp from the front lines of the Waldo Canyon Fire. A small group of people continued to show their support Friday night, even as firefighters started to break down their camp.
"I’m absolutely amazed. Yes, it is their job and that's what they say, but they did it with such passion," said supporter and Cascade homeowner Jane Justice.
"We just love firefighters and we love all firefighters from different places," said Benjamin Sweat, 8, as he waved a hand-made sign.
Thursday, a thank you note from a firefighter was found on the ground by a young girl cheering on 31st and Fontanero.
"There's not many jobs in the world where people cheer you when you're going off to work in the morning, so it's really special for [the firefighters]," said fire information officer Rae Brooks.
Fire officials told us that at the height of the fire, 1,500 firefighters stayed at the Holmes Middle School campus. Some days, more than 300 people lined up to welcome them back.
"We bring the same dedication to any fire we go to. It's just that this one had extra elements that we hadn't experienced before, so we'll remember this one," Brooks said.
Fire containment is predicted for Saturday. By Saturday afternoon the school will be back to exactly that -- just a school. There will, however, still be firefighters monitoring the fire and dealing with any hot spots.