Footage from Utah DPS helicopter captures rescue of firefighters in Utah County
Jul 6, 2023, 10:54 PM
UTAH COUNTY, Utah — Newly-released footage from a Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau helicopter crew captured the recent hoist rescues of two firefighters from a wildland fire in the Manti-La Sal National Forest.
Crews had responded to the Cedar Knoll Fire Monday afternoon when the firefighters suffered heat-related exertion and dehydration battling flames with temperatures in the mid-90s.
The video from the helicopter and also from a crew member on the ground shows one firefighter being airlifted out on a stretcher while the other was lifted out by the crew member on the hoist.
According to fire officials, the two firefighters spent a night in the hospital recovering and were released on Tuesday.
Utah County Fire Warden Garrett Nielsen said he was also there that day battling the fire.
“It’s not an easy job,” he told KSL 5 in an interview Thursday evening. “With the heat and the terrain, it can definitely be hard on us physically.”
Nielsen said the conditions can quickly take a toll, especially when firefighters are carrying up to 60 lbs. of gear.
“There’s never a situation that there can’t be an accident in our industry,” Nielsen said. “It’s a very dangerous job and in reality it’s going to happen to every one of us.”
Nielsen said wildfire season in the county had fortunately been fairly light and he had only responded to a handful of fires so far.
He hoped that firefighters would be able to stay healthy through the rest of the long, hot summer when fires surface.
“I don’t love having fire in my home community,” Nielsen said. “It’s just part of our daily lives at this point.”