The story behind this viral photo of exhausted California firefighters

As firefighters in California work tirelessly to contain multiple deadly wildfires, a photo from last year depicting an exhausted group of first responders has gone viral as a symbol of gratitude for all their hard work.

The photo of the exhausted Tehachapi Wildland Fire Crew 11 resting after working 24-hour shifts was first released by the Kern County Fire Department in December 2017 during the Thomas Fire, which burned nearly 300,000 acres and caused more than $2 billion in damage.

That scene is now being shared by celebrities and others wishing to express their thanks to all the California firefighters currently battling two deadly blazes and helping victims.

The Camp Fire has killed at least 42 people and burning 117,000 acres in northern California as of Monday night, while the Woolsey Fire outside Los Angeles has killed two and burned nearly 100,000 acres.

Comedian Kevin Hart and TODAY contributor Maria Shriver are among those who used the photo in heartfelt messages of thanks for all the firefighters' efforts.

The picture has also been shared by many others, who have called the firefighters "war heroes of another kind" and "real deal heroes."

The fires have burned up the homes of singers Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, singer/songwriter Neil Young, actor Gerard Butler, former "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Camille Grammer.

The Camp Fire has become the deadliest wildfire in California history, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters Monday. The fire was only about 30 percent contained as of Monday night, authorities said.

See photos of the devastation across California: