Southern Utah fire crews among those going to battle California’s wildfires

A firefighter monitors flames from a backburn operation, Oct. 13, 2017, in Glen Ellen, Calif. | AP photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Firefighters from across Utah are leaving for California this weekend to join the fight against the deadly wildfires blazing across the Golden State’s Napa wine region.

According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, 29 fire engines and their associated fire crews are going to California, among them are two engines from the Cedar City Fire Department, two engines from the Hurricane Valley Fire District and one engine from the Washington City Fire Department.

Eight of the fire engine crews involved are heading out Saturday and are deploying under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a system of state-to-state mutual aid, according to Utah DPS.

The units will be put to work as soon as they reach California and plan to be used for 21 days.

They include units from Salt Lake City, Provo, West Valley City, West Jordan, South Jordan and Draper.

Firefighters huddle confer as flames from a massive wildfire burn along a mountain top. Firefighters continue to battle the blaze burning in the heart of California’s wine country, near Oakville, Calif, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 | AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, St. George News

The units from Washington City, Cedar City and Hurricane are a part of resources already sent out by the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. The agency has deployed 10 engines and crews through the Resource Ordering and Status System, which is overseen by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.

Those resources have been put into two strike teams and consist of fire engines and crews from Richfield and Salina, and Unitah, Juab, Sanpete and Carbon counties, as well as resources from the state.

Resources from Utah previously deployed include units and personnel from the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, state of Utah and Juab County, according to Utah PDS.

The fires in California’s wine country began Oct. 9 and have since chased an estimated 90,000 people from their homes and destroyed at least 5,700 homes and businesses. The death toll rose to 36, making this the deadliest and most destructive series of wildfires in California history, according to the Associated Press.

In all, 17 large fires still burned across the northern part of the state, with more than 9,000 firefighters attacking the flames using air tankers, helicopters and more than 1,000 fire engines.

Since Thursday evening, crews arrived from Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oregon and Arizona. Other teams came from as far away as Canada and Australia.

Earlier this week, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert voiced his support for sending resources from to California.

“Utah stands ready, willing and able to help a state in need,” Herbert said via Twitter Tuesday.

Fire officials were investigating whether downed power lines or other utility failures could have sparked the fires, but they say they are far from determining how the blazes began.

The Associated Press contributed for this story.

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Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Redbud October 14, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    This blaze in California is most likely punishment for those who voted for Obama and Hillary. Witness the wrath!

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