Local Youth Work at Area Fires

Bear/Bennion Creek Fire ICP, Price, Utah

John Schuler, PIO

It takes a lot of hard work to put out a wildland fire. From the aircraft in the air, to the boots on the ground swinging an axe or spraying water, to the dispatcher on the other end of the radio at the initial dispatch. Countless hours of hard work go into putting out a wildland fire and “Putting the wet stuff on the red stuff” and not to mention thousands of feet of hose. What happens to all that hose and where does the hose come from?

When Initial Attack firefighting efforts in one area are complete, those crews must quickly move to the next area of the fire’s edge and it can be time consuming to roll up all that hose, especially when time is of the essence. In those moments of initial attack, those hoses will sometimes be left behind and that fire engine will utilize their supply of remaining hose for the next firefight. The fire hose left behind will later be utilized, by either that engine crew another one, to mop up any reaming hot spots that may appear after the initial attack is over.

So, as you can imagine, large fires can end up with thousands of feet of hose on the fire line that must be picked up, cleaned, rolled and made ready for their next big wildland fire.

Today, at the Bear and Bennion Creek Fire Incident Command Post in Price Utah, the Central Utah Camp Crew (CUCC), is hard at work. The CUCC has approximately 250-300 high schoolers involved in the program each summer. These students are from ten different high schools and three counties from central Utah. These students are divided to 13 member crews that are rostered as national resources. This year, they are able to fill eight crews. The program helps build work ethic, integrity, respect, team cohesion and is utilized by the BLM as a recruiting tool to help fill open spots in their organization. Today we found the CUCC at the incident command post making ready the first of three truckloads of hose pulled from the fire lines of the Bear and Bennion Creek Fires.

These young men and women have taken time out of their summers for an opportunity to work in the wildfire industry and learn about some of what goes on in fire camp and the parts and pieces needed to support the firefighters on the fire line. Each fire assignment typically lasts two weeks, before they go home to rest and get ready for their next assignment.  Every fire assignment is different, but at each they will spend time working in and around the incident command post learning about the supply and logistical portion of a fire camp.

Wyatt Robins, a 17 year old senior at West Jordan High School said “Before this, I didn’t understand how things worked. There’s a lot of people in the incident command system and they all have important jobs”.  Wyatt says he looks forward to pursuing a career as a wildland firefighter after he graduates.

When I asked Wyatt, and his group of young friends all covered in dirt, how many feet they rolled? Wyatt responded “Lots”. A moment later another young man from their crew approached his messy friends and stated “20,400 feet”.

I guess it’s not countless after all…  

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