updated 05/20/2014 AT 2:15 PM ET
•originally published 05/20/2014 AT 1:15 PM ET
Tim Bergon only wanted to let his wife know he was okay.
Bergon’s wife showed the photo to her friend Monica Calles, owner of San Diego’s Plan 9 Alehouse. Inspired by the heroic exhaustion on display in the image, Calles shared it on the Alehouse’s Facebook page, calling the firefighters “#reallifeheroes.”
“It touched us, so we passed it on,” Calles told local news station CBS8.
The photo resonated with San Diego residents, who are dealing with some of the worst wildfires in the region’s history. A long drought and hot winds in May have combined to create more than a dozen blazes, which have burned up more than 40 square miles.
“Liking” the photo, as more than 35,000 people have done, may just be residents’ small way of saying thanks.
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