By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
Thanks to the American Airlines redeye, we are back from Southern California -- and whenever I think we are worse for wear, I remember those we left behind. While standing on a hillside last night in Lakeview Terrace, California, I pointed to the firefighters coming off the day shift and washing off their gear and said to a colleague, "Those are the best people in the world."
I realized today I probably should have said that on the air, for all to hear -- because they really are. Among the 4,000 firefighters on the job at the wildfires as you read this, there are no easy jobs. It's hot everywhere. There are fires everywhere. Everyone is wearing heavy gear, working a long shift, and away from their home base. Yesterday I flew by helicopter over remote hillsides, far from any real population base, and often I'd look down and see two LA County firefighters -- assigned to stand guard at an outpost. There they were, on duty, with just each other in the intense heat. No shelter, no backup, just them. It was quite a sight. We salute all those on the job tonight, and we hope you can join us for the broadcast this evening.