Northern Utah firefighters prepare for wildfire season

May 31, 2024, 6:47 PM | Updated: 7:05 pm

HUNTSVILLE, Weber County — As the warmer weather moves in, so does the wildfire risk. This means that many local firefighters are coming together to train on wildfire suppression.

“Beginning of the fire season, everybody’s a little rusty,” said Dallin Bordrero, a Cache County fire warden.

To help shake that rust off, Bordrero and other fire wardens are getting local and federal firefighters across the state to train during the weekend.

“We try and give them a variety. I try to expose them at least a little bit to the different aspects of fire,” Bordrero said.

On Friday, firefighters focused on attacking the fire early as the first moments are essential to get control of a small wildland fire.

Firefighters spraying down a small fire before it grows larger

Firefighters spraying down a small fire before it grows larger. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

“The firefighters are working. They’re pulling hose. They’re cutting trees. They’re digging line,” said another Cache County Fire Warden, Richard Cooper. “And then you have squad bosses in there that are, actually, kind of directing people.”

The fire wardens said a big part of the training is building relationships and knowing how firefighters will best work together effectively so that when an actual incident happens, they can move out quickly.

“And, when we roll up onto an incident, we all know each other. We know our capabilities. We just go right to work, and there’s. No questions asked,” Cooper said.

A group of firefighters that are participating in the training.

A group of firefighters that are participating in the training. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

This year, the wardens are adding a state helicopter crew to that training and preparation. They said using the helicopter doesn’t happen often because it takes some extra planning and money, but it’s essential.

“As the threat of wildfire continues, we’re upping our game at the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands to address that increased risk that we’re beginning to see all over the country,” said Mike Melton, state aviation manager for DNR.

A state helicopter that joined firefighters on Friday's training.

A state helicopter that joined firefighters on Friday’s training. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

That increased risk includes more homes near wildlands and a growing population.

While fire risk this year is expected to be lower in the mountains and valleys, there is some concern for the desert areas where they say there is some above-average fire potential.

“If the community does their part, we do our part, and then we lessen the risk of a wildland fire. And, we can keep these beautiful vistas out here in these beautiful mountains green and lush,” Copper said.

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Northern Utah firefighters prepare for wildfire season