WILDFIRE

Utahns help California wildfire relief efforts

Nov 13, 2018, 6:29 PM
File Photo -- Noah Berger, Associated Press...
File Photo -- Noah Berger, Associated Press

CAMARILLO — Multiple agencies based in Utah are on the ground in California helping with wildfire relief efforts as deadly blaze ravages Ventura, Butte, and Los Angeles counties.

The American Red Cross Northern Utah Chapter is spread throughout the affected areas. Volunteers are offering services to those affected and displaced by the fires.

“We’re down there in the shelter capacity with all of the people that have been displaced,” says spokesperson Kirsten Stuart. “We also have mental health services there in the shelters. There’s feeding. There’s also a crew out there doing disaster assessment.”

Other Red Cross chapters from across the country are also assisting those who need it most.

Close to 200 Utah firefighters are on the ground helping fight the Woolsey Fire in southern California. The groups battling the fires are working diligently to assist the other crews in the area around Camarillo and those still at base are anxiously awaiting their assignments.

“Some of the California canyons are very dangerous. You can tell from the photos that they’re steep and they’re very rocky,” says Salt Lake County Emergency Management spokesperson Tina Brown. “That adds an extra safety concern.”

With the recent death of Draper Fire Battalion Chief Matt Burchett, Brown says safety is top of mind for the Utah fire crews.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are doing their part to help those displaced by the fires. Families in Chico, just outside Paradise which was virtually destroyed, are taking in Latter-day Saint families during this tough time. Shelter is being provided, as well as food, clothing and other services to members and non-members alike.

“I was evacuated from my home, and when I went to the incident command center as part of my work, I saw a Draper, Utah fire truck go by,” says Roseville Director of Public Affairs Josh Cook.

He says he was moved by Utah sending more crews to battle California fires after the death of Matt Burchett.

Cook says all ward members have been accounted for, but that’s not stopping them from helping in the rescue efforts elsewhere.

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