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Utah County firefighters return from 2-week deployment in New Mexico

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jun 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 00:19:04-04

SPANISH FORK, Utah — Wildfire season is in full swing, and crews here in Utah have traveled both near and far to help keep these fires contained.

The Utah County Fire Department's handcrew returned Sunday morning from a recent deployment to Pecos, New Mexico, where they helped fight the Calf Canyon Fire.

"Everyone came home [with] no injuries," crew boss Andrew Siebach said. "Always a good trip when we can have a safe trip and help out the folks that needed the help."

Siebach said the first deployment of the season for his 22-person crew was a success.

WATCH: Left Fork Fire reignited in southern Utah

They became available for the season on June 1 and were sent to Flagstaff just two days later.

Then on June 5, they were sent to New Mexico to help out with the Calf Canyon Fire.

"When we got there, the fire had been going for 60 days, I believe, already," said Siebach.

The handcrew was assigned to a huge perimeter of a fire that has torched more than 300,000 acres.

"Sixty percent-plus containment when we arrived, and we initially were assigned to, you know, one of the last active parts of the fire," said Siebach.

READ: Wildfire near I-80 and SLC Airport fully contained

Siebach said his crew worked 16-hour shifts most days. They had to battle red flag warnings and elevated fire danger as they looked to secure the line where they were located.

"We caught some spot fires ... that escaped the main fire into areas where we don't want any fire," he said.

After two weeks, the crew was cut loose and made their way back to the Beehive State on Sunday.

Siebach said their first assignment gave them a chance to cover a lot of things they expect to encounter throughout the rest of the season.

"It gave a lot of the rookies, you know, a first glimpse of what they can anticipate moving forward, and it gave a lot of the returnees a chance to kind of refresh on some skills," said Siebach.

He added that many in his crew were excited to make it home for Father's Day to spend time with their families.

Siebach said they will probably become available again in the next couple of days, ready to help tackle another wildfire, if necessary.