More Utah Firefighters Head West To Battle California Wildfires

Oct 29, 2019, 9:33 AM | Updated: 9:48 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Crews from across the country are rushing to help provide relief to the thousands of firefighters battling on the front lines in California.

At least 10 crews from Utah are already fighting fires in the Golden State, and another 40 firefighters left Tuesday to join the efforts. The crews from eight Utah departments will spend two weeks helping battle blazes in California.

“Utah has some great resources,” said Joe Dougherty with the Utah Division of Emergency Management. “We have great firefighters. They are not only going to be helping a state in need, but they’re going to be gaining critical experience for being better wildland firefighters when they return.”

For some of those Utah firefighters, protecting people in California is personal.

“Last year, in the Paradise Fire, my uncle and my cousin both lost homes,” said Unified Fire Authority’s Ryan Love. “Going back to California, it really means a lot to me — to be able to help those people, the residents and also the firefighters.”

Among those who joined the group Tuesday was the younger brother of Draper Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett, who was killed last year while fighting a fire in California.

Dominic Burchett is a member of the Unified Fire Authority. It’s a relationship that serves as a somber reminder of the firefighters’ dedication and the dangers they will face when rushing to help.

And there’s plenty of need for help.

Thousands are under evacuation orders in California as multiple fires are raging.

The Kincade Fire is burning in Sonoma County in the northern part of the state, and it has already scorched tens of thousands of acres. Near-hurricane force winds are anticipated in the area today. Those winds are expected to make firefighting efforts even harder and will lead to more power shutoffs in the state.

More than two million people are already impacted by those outages.

In southern California, crews are continuing work on the fast-moving Getty Fire, which is burning in the hills of Los Angeles’s Bel Air neighborhood. Firefighters are currently trying to keep the fire away from the Getty Museum and the priceless art inside.

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More Utah Firefighters Head West To Battle California Wildfires