Local Firefighters Traveling West To Fight Flames In California

40 firefighters from Utah are joining California crews to battle blazes across the state. Among those headed out include crews from Wasatch County and Park City Fire Districts’

Fires are devastating California communities as October draws to a close. The Kincade Fire in Sonoma county has burned 75,000 acres and is around 15% contained. Meanwhile the nearly 700-acre Getty fire in Los Angeles has caused evacuation from more than 7,000 residences and is just five percent contained.

Utah crews left from Salt Lake City to Santa Clara County on Tuesday morning. Wasatch County Emergency Manager Jeremy Hales explains seven firefighters from the Wasatch Back will be fighting flames in the state.

“Wasatch County sent down a wildland fire engine with four people in it,” Hales said. “Our colleagues in Park City also sent an engine down with three people in it. They left and they’re headed down to Cupertino, California where they’ll get their assignment.”

The Park City crew is assigned to a strike force while Wasatch County’s crew is assigned to a task force. Hales explains that in a strike force all the fire engines are the same type.

“So, they’re all a type 3 engine. Which is kind of a medium sized fire engine that can do both wildland and it can do structure protection,” Hales continued. “Then a task force is different resources, so it’s a mixed amount of resources. So, we have some type 3 engines which are the ones I just described to you and some type 6 engines. They’re like a fire apparatus that’s on the back of a pickup truck bed. they can carry a pump and it’s more capable of doing wildland brush stuff. Both trucks are very capable of providing services they’re all 4-wheel drive. So, they can go in the mountains or be on the road.”

California and Utah both participate in an Emergency Management Agency Compact. The Compact allows states to ask each other for help during an emergency situation.

“California orders us, and California is the one that pays us back,” Hales explained. “They’re the ones that pay for those resources that they ordered. So, if we need help states have that capability, all of them. They can use this EMAC request for resources in the event of a disaster.”

Although the length of their stay is not known, local agencies will receive daily updates on the status of the men on the ground.

“We just appreciate all the support,” Hales said. “We can’t do it without our community partners. Our county government is very supportive to go out and assist the state of California. We appreciate them. We appreciate their families letting these men go and go out there and provide a great service to the state of California, helping our neighbors.  We appreciate all the support from all the state and Wasatch and Summit Counties.”

Utah sent firefighters to California on four deployments as part of the compact in 2017 and 2018.

Read the original story at KPCW.org