Firefighting is a dangerous profession. Imagine jumping into an active forest fire burning at extreme temperatures, with trees on the brink of collapse and ash raining from the sky. Wildfire fighters have one of the toughest jobs in the world and are often forgotten after the fire is extinguished. What happens to their families if they don’t return from a wildfire? Coors Banquet, the beer brewery out of Golden, CO, is making sure nobody is left behind.
Recently, Coors Banquet started its philanthropic campaign, Protect Our Protectors, a charitable cause for firefighters working to contain forest fires in California, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. Coors donates money from a series of promotional campaigns to cover expenses to assist the families of these frontline workers should anything happen to them.
Fans of Coors can purchase limited-edition stubby bottles of Coors Banquet beer, items from a clothing collection capsule with Brixton clothing brand, and live music events. Country musician Chase Rice recently partnered with Protect Our Protectors, and participated in wildfire fighting training to learn what it takes to run toward the blazes. It’s a strategic campaign to ensure enough funds to continue supplying forest firefighters with gear, food, water, and insurance for injuries.
Coors has been involved with the wildfire assistance programs for quite some time. Much of their work has been alongside Wildland Fire Foundation (WFF).
Since 2014, Coors has raised around $2 million for firefighters killed in the line of duty and their families. The Foundation also works to prevent more deaths in the forest fire ranks. Those who buy the Coors stubby-bottle six-pack are helping to fund the next $250,000 donation goal for WFF.
“For 30 years, I’ve helped out firefighters and their families,” Burk Minor, head of WFF, told Consensus. “All I can ask of citizens is to donate to the Foundation during this difficult time. These men and women are our first line of defense; they deserve all the help they can get.”
These donations are coming at a critical time. There is a lack of federal forest firefighters and elite teams amid increasingly intense and frequent forest fires. Close to 112% more than the 10-year average forest acreage has burned this year, and staffing issues have made the containment jobs trickier. Firefighters have implored policymakers for higher pay to increase recruitment, but federal assistance has been slow.
Protect Our Protectors and WFF have come in to fill in the gap. The labor shortage is concerning, with forest fire season reaching its peak this month. While the current administration says it would raise federal firefighter pay by 50%, employment rates have declined. The hope is this pay bump will get more firefighters employed and into the Forest Service, but it has yet to be seen.
As wildfires worsen, Coors has committed to helping frontline firefighters. “I can’t be more grateful to Coors Banquet for the work they have done,” Minor added. The beer brewing firm’s philanthropic efforts will help ensure that the men and women protecting us and our forests are protected as well.