Utah firefighters help battle nation’s largest wildfire

Utah Wildfires

OREGON (ABC4) – It has been a week since 41 firefighters from nine Utah fire agencies deployed for Oregon to help fight wildfires.

The firefighters deployed from the Maverik Center last Sunday, answering a request for help from the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a system of state-to-state mutual aid coordinated through state emergency management agencies.

The firefighters will deploy for about 16 days, which equates to 14 days working plus travel. The two task forces consist of firefighters and fire apparatus from Unified Fire Authority, Draper, Murray, West Valley City, Park City, Lone Peak, Weber, Layton, and Orem Fire departments and districts.

Unified Fire says the two task forces are currently assigned to the Bootleg fire in Oregon.

They recently spent the day holding the fire line, which includes cooling off and extinguishing any large fuels that could throw embers across the line. Unified Fire shared the video at the top of this story showing crews hard at work.

Firefighters can be seen hauling hoses to reach various hotspots, including what appears to be a large tree stump on fire.

The Bootleg fire is the nation’s largest wildfire, the Associated Press reports, with more than 2,200 crew members working to contain the blaze. As of Saturday, the fire was nearly halfway surrounded.

While the growth of the Bootleg fire has slowed, authorities tell the Associated Press thousands of homes remained threatened.

“This fire is resistant to stopping at dozer lines,” Jim Hanson, fire behavior analyst, says in a news release from the Oregon Department of Forestry. “With the critically dry weather and fuels we are experiencing, firefighters are having to constantly reevaluate their control lines and look for contingency options.”

Here in Utah, fire crews worked quickly Saturday night to gain a hold on the Art Nord Fire, which was sparked in Weber County near Snowbasin by target shooting in the area. As of Sunday morning, the fire has burned 50 acres.

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