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New wildland fire team in southern Utah aims to better protect communities

Posted at 11:48 AM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 19:42:15-04

ENTERPRISE, Utah — Enterprise Fire and EMS rolled out a wildland fire team last year, and now they’re expanding.

On Wednesday, the department will be swearing in five new personnel members to work on the crew.

“This wildland team, when they’re not deployed and they’re not on a fire, they’re not just sitting around doing nothing,” said Enterprise Fire Chief Brenden Moody. “They’re in the hills, cutting, burning and doing mitigation to help prevent that stuff, and that’s huge for this area.”

Utah’s largest wildfire in 2021 knocked on the door of the Enterprise community. The Flatt Fire burned more than 14,000 acres and was sparked by lightning.

The SR-18 corridor tends to be a wildfire-prone area.

“It is a very extreme area that can, with high winds, take out a lot of homes and structures,” said Enterprise Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Germain. “Our biggest thing is trying to protect that area.”

He said the area doesn't have a lot of water sources or available hydrants, so bringing in more personnel to fight fires is part of their strategy.

“It would certainly be in the top 10 issues we’re working on in that area; wildland fire,” said Washington County Commissioner Adam Snow, who mentioned the area is very susceptible to wildfire. “We’re very supportive of increasing services along the 18 corridors. That is a rapidly growing area and only continuing to grow even more.”

The department's out-of-state work last year also helped fund some of their new equipment.