Utah firefighters headed to California to battle wildfires

Posted at 6:44 PM, Oct 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-13 23:54:47-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Firefighters from Utah are being enlisted to help battle the devastating wildfires in California.

The Salt Lake City Fire Department is sending a dozen firefighters. As many as 40 firefighters from different Utah agencies have volunteered to go.

"As a fire department and a fireman -- when our brothers need us -- we go help. We won't ask questions. We go help," said Mark Leppard, a Salt Lake City firefighter who volunteered to go.

Salt Lake City Fire Chief Karl Lieb said California crews are exhausted, and asked for help. It didn't take long for volunteers to sign up.

"All our firefighters here in Salt Lake City are trained for this sort of urban-interface event," he said. "Because we have urban interface on three sides of Salt Lake. So we're prepared for it and we train on it regularly."

The wildfires in California have destroyed thousands of homes and killed at least 31 people. Hundreds are still unaccounted for.

Kristen Wade and her family were awakened in the middle of the night and told to evacuate.

"We didn't think our house would burn down. We thought we would go for a few hours and come back once the fire's gone," she told FOX 13 . "A few hours later, we found out our whole neighborhood was leveled."

Wade said she and her family were OK, but she urged people to contribute to relief organizations to help others in worse situations.

"It has just been amazing to see how the community has come together to help each other," she said.

There are a number of ways to help. Go Fund Me has gathered a number of crowd-sourcing campaigns.

There is also the Sonoma County Resilience Fund and the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund.