WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Thirty-three firefighters from several agencies in Utah are headed to California to help battle the massive wildfires in that state.
The group consists of members of the Lone Peak, West Valley City, Draper, Park City, Orem, Pleasant Grove and Unified fire departments.
“They need help,” said Ryan Love with the Unified Fire Department. “California is in a state of emergency right now. There are too many fires there for their resources to handle locally."
“They are asking all states for anybody that can help to come fight the fires,” added Sheila Curtis with the Utah Division of Emergency Management.
The crews gathered Saturday morning in the parking lot of the Maverik Center in West Valley City before departing.
They will be deployed for about 16 days. Only departments that could safely spare the resources are sending firefighters to California.
The trip will come with added risks because fighting fires in California is unlike doing the job in Utah.
“It’s a different climate, different country, different vegetation in northern California than we are used to in Utah,” Love said. “Potentially some redwoods, some large timber. Fire activity is a lot different than we see here. We are going to have to maintain situational awareness.”
Despite the risks, each of the firefighters raised his or her hand to be selected for this assignment.
“It’s a hard time, but these guys are dedicated. They know there are citizens in California — families just like us. If we had that need, they would be there if they could to help us fight fires,” Curtis said.