SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - 256: That is the number of days Melissa Morgado went without seeing her husband Steven Morgado in 2017.
Steven is a Cal Fire firefighter based in Alturas, California. Melissa gained national attention for a blog post she wrote in January titled, "2017 A year in the life of a CALFIRE wife."
In the blog, Melissa described how difficult it was for her and her two young children to go through the past year without their father.
So far this year, wildfires in California have proven to be even more damaging, dangerous and even deadly for firefighters.
"It's been very hard because on this long stretch that he's been gone, there's been so many tragic accidents that it's been just very stressful for me," Melissa explained.
Now at 32 weeks pregnant and with two toddlers at home, Melissa continues to hold down the fort at home, while her husband Steven protects homes and lives on the fire lines.
The Morgado's relocated to Southern Idaho from Redding two years ago, but Steven commutes 6-8 hours back and forth to Northern California to help fight fires for weeks at a time.
The family has scheduled more vacation time this year compared to last to try and ensure more time together. But with baby number three on the way, this most recent stretch hasn't been easy for Melissa, their four-year-old daughter and 20-month-old son.
"He got home yesterday afternoon and that was 32 days he was gone and it was hard," Melissa said. "Your emotions kind of just come and go in waves. You really miss him, then you get used to it and think, 'OK, I've got this.'"
Steven will be home for just three days, then it's back to fighting fires. While their window together is short, the Morgado family is taking advantage of the opportunity to be a family of four.
"This morning we all went out to the garden and picked vegetables, and we've got some lawns to mow, and just get some stuff done that's hard to do with two little ones," Morgado explained.
Steven received a special surprise during these 72 hours home: He heard his baby's heartbeat for the first time.
This fire family, living life's biggest moments in between the call to service.
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