The North Tooele Fire District sent three firefighters to help fight fires in Oregon last week. The trio of firefighters may be gone for more than two weeks.
NTFD Capts. Chris Unsworth and Jason Brown along with firefighter Connor Brown have been sent to assist with fighting fires outside of Medford, Oregon.
The three men may have to be away from their families for more than two weeks depending on how long they are needed, according to NTFD Chief Randy Willden.
“They had to agree to go for 14 days,” he said. “There could be rain and that may shorten the time but there could be lightening and it could be longer.”
The three firefighters have been cleaning leaves and debris out of rain gutters of homes so that the embers from the fire won’t catch the homes on fire.
They have also been laying out fire hoses so that if the fire spreads, they will have water to help put it out, according to Willden.
“They could be sleeping in a tent or hotel, depending on where they are assigned near the fire,” Willden said. “They feed the firefighters and have restrooms for them.”
The three men were requested through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“If one state needs assistance on a fire, they send out a request and it comes to the state of Utah,” Willden said. “They were looking for 32 crews of at least three or four firefighters from Utah. There are also fire fighters from Layton, Ogden, West Valley, Park City, Lone Peak, Unified Fire, and Murray City helping out in Oregon.”
There are currently around 100 fire fighters from Utah assisting in Oregon, he said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the fire department for wages for the men, equipment, fire trucks, and benefits, according to Willden.
“The North Tooele Fire District feels a strong need to be able to help out fire fighters in other communities and states,” said Willden. “We support each other and there’s not one agency that can fight one fire alone. When the request for the firefighters came out, I had three firefighters go home and make sure it was okay to leave their families. If you look at our Facebook page, you will see hundreds of people from Oregon who have thanked our firefighters. It’s just so rewarding.”