WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4) – With wildfires spreading throughout the western states, a group of Utah firefighters are answering the call to help.
According to officials this is typical this time of year.
“Typical this time of year might be a little sooner this year than in previous years,” says Division Chief Unified Fire Authority Bryan Case.
Unified Fire is sending 24 firefighters to Billings, Montana aiding efforts for the next 16 days.
“Type six engines carry a little bit of water, a lot of hand tools, but the real value is the personnel here, they come with a lot of qualities and capabilities,” Case explains. “That’s why we have been requested by the state of Montana.”
Fire officials in Montana say as of July 21 there are 19 wildfires throughout the state having burned more than 200,000 total acres causing crews in Montana to struggle keeping up.
“A lot of fires due to the dry materials,” Case adds.
According to fire authorities since January more than 1,500 fires have sparked, 500 of those ignited in July alone.
“tie in with local resources and work on putting out fires,” Bryan Case Division Chief Unified Fire Authority.
Under a state-to-state mutual aid program, Montana has accepted Utah’s help, with some Utah crews already aiding in Oregon.
“It’s important to note, if we are not whole here in Utah we could not be able to send resources there,” Case shares. “It is the right thing to do.”