When an Erath County volunteer firefighter reported to the station Friday afternoon, he was wearing a pair of shorts and flip-flops.

At the time, he had no idea a massive grassfire would erupt on US Highway 281 and he would be one of more than 100 volunteers from 12 different agencies called in to battle the blaze.

After receiving the call, the fireman changed into his gear, hopped on a fire truck and raced to the scene. After hours of fighting the fire in the scorching temperatures that reached well over 100 degrees Friday, the fireman returned to the command center and asked for a pair of socks.

"He had been out there fighting the fire all that time without any socks," Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue Chief Kenneth Howell said. "By the time he got back (to the command center), he had blisters on his feet."

Howell spread the word that his man needed a pair of socks and what seemed like almost instantaneously, more than 250 pairs appeared at the scene.

Indeed, fighting wildfires - especially in the scorching summer heat - can be tough. But behind the firemen and volunteers who choose this line of work, is an army of help the firefighters have come to depend on and appreciate.

From the women's auxiliary group that raises money for everything from food to medicine to the countless community members who jump in and help when they see a need, the firemen who depend on these people can't thank them enough.

"The women's auxiliary is phenomenal. There is no way we can express our gratitude for all they do," Howell said. "They bring us medicine, wipes, ice, cold towels - anything we need."

In the case of Friday's fire, which raged through Sunday, the women's auxiliary prepared three meals a day for the fire crews at the command center located on land owned by Tommy Dingman.

"Basically, he (Dingman) let us live on his land for three days," said ECVFR Coordinator Chris Gable.

And that wasn't the only act of good will.

Cude Energies, Western Dairy Transport and Danny and Larry Karnes sent tankers full of water. Jay Mills Construction, RBR Construction and AP Rosser sent dozers. Jim Hale sent ice, water and fruit. Allsups sent cases of water and offered firemen all the burritos they could eat. John Sandstrom sent an airplane used to monitor the situation from the sky and Neal Guthrie sent two port-a-potties.

"That was great. All of a sudden, two port-a-johns appeared from out of nowhere" Howell said.

Perhaps one of the most amazing acts of selflessness came from a man, identified only as Mr. Sneed, who stood in the highway for hours directing traffic.

"He stood out there for at least four hours in 100-degree weather helping control traffic," said Gable.

Fire officials believe Friday's massive fire was started by a vehicle experiencing car trouble as it chugged its way down Hwy 281, sparking several fires along a three-mile stretch of highway.

The blaze charred an estimated 1,000 acres of land, but spared nearby structures. No serious injuries were reported, but several firefighters were treated on scene for heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.