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Utah crews once again helping fight California wildfires

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah firefighters are once again answering the call to help.

A Utah County wildland fire crew left Spanish Fork at 6 a.m. Wednesday to help fight wildfires in Southern California, and the Unified Fire Authority said it was putting together a strike team of 18 firefighters as well as equipment that would be deployed Thursday.

According to Utah County Fire Capt. Patrick Carlson, the four-person crew and an urban interface fire engine was scheduled to arrive in Ventura County about 8 p.m. Wednesday. They likely will be in California for two to three weeks.

According to Kevin Cortez, Utah County fire warden, the engine being sent to California has four-wheel drive, which allows firefighters to drive right to the edge of wildfire. It also carries 750 gallons of water.

This is the fourth time this year Utah County wildland fire crews have deployed to California to fight out-of-control fires.

“They need help, and we’re willing to help them any way possible,” Carlson said.

That sentiment was echoed by Cortez, who grew up in Southern California and wishes he was heading to California with his crew.

"Let's face it, every firefighter wants to be helpful, they want to be there, they want to be in the thick of it,” he said. “That's exactly what these guys are going to do and like to do."


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Marc Giauque


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