Utah firefighters are now on the front lines of the Dixie, California blaze
GREENVILLE, Calif .– With the Dixie fire in California continuing to burn and becoming the second largest fire in state history, the call for help was launched this weekend to the Utah teams.
WATCH: Former college professor charged with arson near huge Dixie Fire in California
On Monday morning, five fire trucks carrying 22 firefighters set off for the West Coast to join the battle against the largest current wildfire in the United States
“As soon as we got here, we registered our teams and put our people to work. Said Chief Clint Mecham, Director of Emergency Management for Salt Lake County, as well as the task force leader.
The crews are stationed at an Incident Command Center in Susanville, but at this time they are in the town of Janesville and are working to protect structures in front of the front lines which are approximately five miles from the town. .
The teams are also referred to as “Suge Crews,” which means the task force is on the bubble so they can deal with any unexpected needs, according to Mecham.
Utah fire crews say California residents and fire crews have welcomed them with open arms and are happy to lend a helping hand.
READ: Dixie Fire destroys town of Greenville, California
The Dixie Fire is also the main producer of smoke that degrades the air quality in the Salt Lake Valley. As the fire begins to go out thanks to crews in Utah, it will improve the skies over the northern part of the state.
California crews are also learning valuable information to take back to Utah. Because the Dixie fire is currently crossing county borders, the coordination needed to fight such a massive fire is not seen in Utah.
Rapid flames are also something Utah firefighters aren’t particularly used to, in part because of the types of fuel found in the California foothills.
Chief Mecham said the fuel types in the Dixie Fire are different, but a lot of them are the same as we see in Utah, so it’s good to learn how they burn and interact, especially on such a large forest fire.
Utah teams are expected to be in the west for 14 days, but the time frame could be lengthened or shortened depending on the needs of the state of California.
Throughout their deployment, Utah fire crews will not only help save lives and property, but can also bring back better knowledge, relationships and tools to help Utah.
“Someday I hope not, but someday more than likely Utah will need its neighbors, just like we sent this help.” Mecham said.