California native Aaron Rodgers honors firefighters


At the tail end of a difficult week for the state of California, one of its native sons strode to his postgame press conference, more than 2,000 miles away, with his home state on his mind.

Following the Green Bay Packers' decisive win over the Miami Dolphins, Aaron Rodgers, Chico native and former quarterback for Butte Community College's and California's football teams, paid homage to the firefighters and first responders fighting fires up and down the state this week and to the citizens affected by them.

"It's been a rough week. It has," Rodgers told reporters while donning a Santa Monica Fire Department hat. "I've been on the phone with a lot of folks close to me in Northern California and Southern California. I had the fortune to meet some great firefighters from Santa Monica in the offseason. They sent me this hat and as I was thinking at my house today, this was the only kind of paraphernalia that I have that could represent my support for those folks who are fighting the fires.

"Obviously my heart goes out to the great people of Paradise, California. Growing up in Chico and spending a great deal of time up there, I played a lot of football and basketball and sports up in Paradise. Basically lived in Magalia at one point, which is kind of an even tinier town off of Paradise and the devastation there is tough. Hearing the stories of people running down the highways to avoid the fire. Knowing that people burned alive in their cars, it's heartbreaking for sure. And then, you have a fire in my adopted home of Southern California. So it's been a tough week for sure.

"Myself and the guys from Southern California and Northern California, obviously our thoughts and our prayers are with those folks. Not only the great firefighters fighting the fire, but all the people displaced in my home area of Butte County and obviously down south in the L.A. area."

As of Sunday evening, wildfires continued to rage on both ends of the state. The statewide death toll stood at 31 and appeared certain to rise. The so-called Camp fire that ravaged a swath of Northern California was the deadliest.

More than 8,000 firefighters in all battled three large wildfires burning across nearly 400 square miles (1,040 square kilometers) in Northern and Southern California, with out-of-state crews arriving.

Rodgers threw for 199 yards and two scores Sunday as Green Bay moved to 4-4-1.

Call 1-800-RED CROSS visit or text CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to donate $10 and help the American Red Cross' relief efforts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.