ATTENTION: News Desk / Assignment Editors
MEDIA HOTLINE: 801-550-0121
Salt Lake City — Eleven firefighters from Salt Lake City Fire Department leave for California tomorrow morning, taking with them one Type 1 engine and two Type 6 engines, to join the battle against wildfires raging along the West Coast.
Chief Karl Lieb said Salt Lake City leaders and local firefighters felt it was important for Utah to support the Golden State’s critical fire-suppression needs.
“We are often humbled by the immense responsibility of this profession,” Chief Lieb said. “And yet, we are proud to join the brave individuals who already have been working tirelessly in California to save lives, protect property, and control these devastating wildfires.”
Lieb added that the department’s commitment to the task force will have zero impact on SLC Fire’s ability to respond to local emergencies and fight fires at home.
Salt Lake City firefighters will meet at the Maverick Center on Thursday Aug. 2 at 8 a.m., and join a caravan of other deploying crews from Draper Fire, Murray Fire, Lone Peak Fire, Provo Fire, Uintah City Fire (Weber County), and West Valley City Fire. It is anticipated that they may be deployed for up to three weeks.
Utah firefighters will join the 12,000-plus firefighters throughout the country who have been traveling from as far as Florida and New Jersey.
Crews have been attacking 17 major California wildfires, 12 of which are still active, and there seems to be no end in sight to the epidemical blaze that has claimed eight lives, burned 240,000 acres, and destroyed more than 1,000 structures so far.
Names, details and locations relative to this deployment are being kept confidential for the safety and privacy of firefighters and their families. However, crews will check in with administrative staff each morning for a safety check and to provide updates.
This will be the third California deployment since October 2017 by Utah firefighters. According to CalFire officials, fighting wildfire will be a year-round activity in hot, dry states. Years of drought have created volatile conditions, prime for an onslaught of outdoor fires.