EL JEBEL — After another long, hot day fighting the Lake Christine fire, firefighters returned to the incident command post Tuesday night to find the community waiting for them.

Hundreds of people living in Eagle County got a chance to thank the firefighters that saved their homes.

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“Thank you, you’ve saved our life,” said Laura Riegel, who helped jump-start the gathering with a few posts on social media. “You’ve shown us that… there are people out there who care.”

Riegel lives in nearby Basalt. Her home was spared from the fire, but she knows many families who were forced to evacuate.

“We have a community here that’s huge and it’s been supportive of everybody,” she said.

Firefighters arrived back at camp to find hundreds of people cheering for them, holding signs, and ready to shake hands.

Many have traveled from out of town to help with the firefighting effort.

“A lot of them are volunteers and they just do this, and come from around the country and leave their families and put themselves in jeopardy,” Riegel said.

“We were pretty impressed,” said Dana Wilson ahead of the gathering on Tuesday. Wilson is a spokesperson for the Lake Christine Fire Incident Command.

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“The community and support we’ve received here during our efforts fighting the Lake Christine Fire have been pretty overwhelming.”

“Our firefighters are generally really humble people,” she added. “They see this as their duty and their obligation to help protect the communities here, and they're working hard out there. It’s really hot. They’re working long shifts. So when they come back in and see that type of support, I think it will really mean a lot, not just for them but for the families as well.”

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