Locals in California town thank firefighters with unique signs

The people of Sonoma, Calif. had a special way of thanking firefighters on Monday.

As wildfires rage in the state, Sonoma locals have placed a facemask and handmade signs on a statue of the town’s 19th century founder, Gen. Mariano Vallejo. The signs praise and thank firefighters for their hard work to combat the deadly wildfires advancing toward the town.

“Thank you firefighters. Bless you!!! For saving our town,” one sign hanging on the statue, which is located in the town’s main square, reads.

Firefighters in the area have spent days digging firebreaks -- strips of open spaces in the forest -- to prevent the flames from reaching the town’s historic central plaza. The plaza was built hundreds of years ago when Sonoma was still under Spanish rule.

But as the wildfires continue to devastate the areas surrounding the small wine and tourist town, picnickers, children and tourists have avoided the grassy square.

The fires took out several homes near Sonoma over the weekend.

Additionally, Sonoma’s 11,000 residents are still facing power outages, evacuation orders and advisories.

Overall, the wildfires in California have killed at least 40 people and have destroyed thousands of homes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.