'A lot of work to be done here': Utah crews help fight large fires in Oregon, Montana

Utah Wildland Task Force firefighters battle the Bootleg Fire in Oregon on Sunday. The massive fire is one of the out-of-state fires Utah firefighters are currently fighting. (Unified Fire Authority)



SALT LAKE CITY — Dozens of Utah firefighters began this week helping out with large wildfires in Oregon and Montana.

Utah Wildland Task Force 1 and 2 remain stationed at the Bootleg Fire burning 15 miles northwest of Beatty, Oregon. In a video posted by the Unified Fire Authority Monday afternoon, firefighters said they were "mopping up" a section of the massive fire, which means they were working to cool down hot areas where the fire has burned.

"There's a lot of work to be done here," said Anders Pritchard, a Draper firefighter and task force member, in the video. "It's a big fire so we're just trying to focus on our little piece of it."

The lightning-caused Bootleg Fire has scorched nearly 410,000 acres since it sparked on July 6, according to federal officials. They listed it as 53% contained as of Monday morning. Firefighters from multiple Utah agencies arrived at the fire last week and are among more than 2,200 people currently assigned to fight the blaze.

Utahns may recognize the fire's name as one of the sources of smoky skies in Utah the past couple of weeks.

Taylor Ward, a Murray firefighter and another task force member, said in the video that Utah crews were working to learn to fight fires in a different atmosphere than they are accustomed to within Utah.

"Oregon's been a little bit different," she said. "There's some things similar to Utah but it's been awesome to learn about Oregon and the different terrain they have here and how to fight the fire here."

Meanwhile, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte tweeted that two other Utah wildfire teams arrived at the Treasure State Friday to help battle the Devil's Creek Fire raging near Jordan, Montana. About two dozen Utah firefighters were assigned to the fire.

"We appreciate them joining our heroic firefighters and first responders in the state's wildfire response," he tweeted Monday.

KULR in Montana reported Monday that the lightning-caused fire is close to 11,000 acres in size and 0% contained. It also reported that four of five firefighters who received burns while fighting the fire last week were released from a hospital.

Meanwhile, the fire situation in Utah has improved. The Utah Wildfire Dashboard, which was created by the Bureau of Land Management and Utah Division of Fire, Forestry and State Lands, reports only three large fires with a combined size of 1,118 acres currently burning in the state.

That includes the Art Nord Fire near Snowbasin Resort that began over the weekend. The U.S. Forest Service reported Monday that the human-caused fire has burned 46 acres and is 55% contained.

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