Utah Firefighters Helping Montana With Widespread Wildfires
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Dozens of Utah firefighters gathered at the Maverick Center Thursday morning as they prepared to leave for Montana where nearly 20 wildfires were burning.
Two dozen firefighters shipped out Thursday morning even though the severe drought and searing temperatures made Utah vulnerable to its own fires. Montana, however, is in much worse shape and rarely needs this kind of help.
“It’s kind of uncommon generally speaking. We usually see ourselves in California, Oregon, and Washington,” said Chief Jeremy Craft of the Lehi Fire Department.
Heading to Montana!
Utah is sending 24 firefighters to help our friends up north for 2 weeks. I was told this is uncommon for them to go to Montana. They’re saying it’s been a rough season for us in Utah but a good sign we have fire fighters to spare to help others. @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/unF2704zSR
— Morgan Wolfe (@MorganWolfeKSL) July 22, 2021
“Montana is kind of special to me,” Craft said. “That is where I grew up. So my home county is burning up there. I am not sure we will get up there but glad to help my home state.”
He grew up in the mountains of Montana and understands the terrain.
“Western Montana, in particular, is very mountainous so it is really difficult to fight the fires.”
Craft and the other Utah firefighters will be in Montana for two weeks to relieve exhausted crews.
“My dad is the county sheriff up there and I was just talking to him, and they have five major fires in that county alone. Pulling up the fire map of Montana they’re burning up in eastern, western Montana, and all over. They really need the help.”
With the season Utah has seen, about 650 fires so far, it’s a miracle that we have resources to send.
Craft said he left behind people he would normally deploy for a mission like this because the officials lifted a fireworks ban for the Pioneer Day weekend.
“I think a majority of people in Utah, they understand the situation we are in, with how dry it is, and how volatile it is. We really tried to put the message out.”
He added that Firefighters in Utah were confident that people will listen to the warnings and be careful.
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