WEBER COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Weber Fire District firefighters were busy during the first two weeks of April putting out 30 different grass fires. As the wildland fire season ramps up, the fire district is confident it now has the tools it needs to keep the blazes in check.
“It’s a tactical water tender,” Weber Fire District’s Captain Richard Cooper explained to ABC4. “It will come with two fire fighters. It has spray bars all the way around it, and technically we can hook a fire’s edge with those spray bars in what we call a direct fire attack. We could put a lot of fire out with this truck.”
The tactical water tender is the fire district’s newest tool. It joins the district’s fleet of firefighting vehicles. However, this tender differs from the others and will play an even more crucial role in fighting wildland fires this summer due to its ability to be used on the front lines.
The Weber Fire District spans 511 square miles, has six different fire stations, and assits fire departments in six cities.
The fire district paid for the new tender through its wildland national deployment teams. The money the teams raised fighting fires across the United States means the district did not have use tax money to buy the vehicle.
The Weber Fire District purchased the $300,000 vehicle a year ago, but didn’t get it until about six weeks ago. In June, the tender will finally be ready for use, which comes at the perfect time with an already busy fire season underway.
“Typically, we’re going to train and prepare our crews for the worst fire season that we can be faced, and we basically just hope for the best,” Cooper stated. He then said last year was one of the busiest fire seasons on record. He explained 94% of fires in Utah were human caused.
Cooper, and the fire district as a whole, reminded all Utahns to follow fire restrictions closely, especially with conditions being so dry across the entire state. He added, “And understand the dangers that we have, so our wildland fire seasons don’t get busy and it doesn’t put us in a dicey situation.”
The fire district employs firefighters year round, but brings on six full-time wildland firefighters during the wild fire season. Four of the six have already started for the 2021 season, and the other two will be joining the crew in a couple weeks.