The “Singing Samoan Fire Crew” has spent the last few years sharing their uplifting spirit and song amidst the Northern California wildfires. Their assistance during the fires are crucial and their cultural practices make them an inspiration for the region devastated by wildfires.
A video shot by Lori Light coming down off the mountain in the Shasta Trinity National Forest singing their Samoans songs after a hard days of work. The video was shot in September of 2017:
They’ve shared their culture and song throughout NorCal as they battle the devastating blazes:
More famously, the crew was seen hiking through Whiskeytown National Recreation Area singing their patented song while fighting the Carr Fire in 2018:
The crew is from the National Park of American Samoa, which is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean. They travel to the United States during fire season to help contain fires.
The US Forest Service commented on its Facebook page that the crew worked hard on the Helena/Fork and Buck fires and received an award from the incident commander for their hard work. California firefighters have seen the crew in action and praised their hard work, passion and camaraderie.
Singing for Samoan fire crews is a regular religious ritual. The words of the song, posted here, were translated by James Stevenson to read:
Fa’afetai i le atua lena tatou tupu ai ina ua na alofa fua ia te tatou uma Tali: ia pepese ia pepese aleluia faafetai ia pepese ia pepese aleluia faafetai Faafetai i lona alo lena afio mai luga le ua fai ma faapaolo mai le puapuaga Tali: ia pepese ia pepese aleluia faafetai ia pepese ia pepese aleluia faafetai Faafetai i le agaga le fesoasoani mai e manuia talosaga atoa uma mea e fai Tali: ia pepese ia pepese aleluia faafetai ia pepese ia pepese aleluia faafetai
In English, the song loosely translates to: Thanks to God. We grow when He has compassion for all of us. Answer: sing hello songs thank you to sing hello thanks thank you Thanks to his son who comes from above who is a savior from the trouble… Answers : sing aleluia songs thank you to sing songs aleluia thanks Thank you very much for help to succeed in all the answers to all the [problems/trouble]… Answers: answer singing aleluia thank you sing songs thank you thank you
Learn more about the Samoan fire crew:
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine