Utah firefighters in California waiting for marching orders

Posted at 6:07 PM, Oct 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-17 09:29:21-04

CHINO, Calif. - Utah responded to California's call for help by sending fire crews from both small towns and big cities.

A combined task force from Northern Utah sent ten engines and 40 firefighters to Chino, where they're awaiting assignments.

It's the waiting that's toughest on the crews who volunteered to help out. Their assignment in Chino, a city south of Los Angeles, puts them far away from the massive fires burning in Northern California, but it puts them in place to plug holes in staffing left as California sent the bulk of its personnel north.

"We're here to work no matter what the assignment, no matter what the task, we want to help. We want to help California. We want to help people that are suffering," said Eric Holmes from Unified Fire Authority in Salt Lake County.

Holmes is normally a spokesman for Utah's biggest fire department, but on this trip, his first job is fighting fire with a wild land crew on Engine 302.

The demand for firefighters in California has sparked volunteers in states across the country. Utah's firefighters will be there as long as they are needed, as this is the peak of wildfire season for most of the state.