Three Park City Firefighters Are Battling California's Historic Blazes

Aug 27, 2020

Credit Park City Fire District
 

Three firefighters from the Park City Fire District left for California to assist in responding to the many fires currently burning across the state.

 

Park City Fire Chief Paul Hewitt says it’s a good thing all around to have staff who are certified to fight wildfires. And all three of the men who went to help crews battle fires in Northern California were excited to go. 

 

Engine Boss Zane Thompson, Grant Lucas and Jeff Pauline could be in the vicinity of San Jose for 10 days or longer, depending on the need. 

 

“They’re all what we refer to as red card certified so they have to pass a physical abilities test,” Hewitt said. “They wear a certain amount of weight, hike a certain time within a certain period to show that they’re physically capable of doing it. And then they’re trained in the strategies and tactics of wildland firefighting. “

 

Hewitt says his crew can learn a lot by going out on these wildland firefighting missions. 

 

“The three firefighters that I just mentioned, they’re biting at the bit,” he said. “They like this stuff. That’s what’s in their blood and they want to get out and fight a real wildfire and get the expertise. Zane Thompson, the engine boss that went out, he is one of our captains. He is very experienced. He has been out on quite a few of these deployments. And he oversees the Park City District’s wildland firefighting team. Then we rotate who we send out. They learn a lot about the terminology, the strategies and the tactics from the guys that are doing this stuff every day.” 

 

Hewitt says there is nothing glamorous about the mission or the work they are asked to do. They live in tents and at times, he says, may be given a Motel 6 room and a shower. 

 

“But they could be assigned to being a lookout where they sit on a bumper of a fire engine for hours on end,” he said. “And they’re the safety lookout for the firefighters down below. … They could be down cutting fire lines and breathing smoke and dust and dirt the whole time. They don't know until they get there. They have to be ready to do any of that.” 

 

Hewitt says the Park City Fire District and firefighters are compensated when they send assistance out to other regions.  

 

“We show up on the positive side after our firefighters get back,” he said. “They get paid and the fire district gets paid. We get paid per mile. They took three fire engines to help fight the wildfire. we get paid for the mileage, the upkeep, the maintenance, the fuel and then some. So, the Park City Fire Department doesn’t lose anything.”Three firefighters from the Park City Fire District left for California to assist in responding to the many fires currently burning across the state.

 

Park City Fire Chief Paul Hewitt says it’s a good thing all around to have staff who are certified to fight wildfires. And all three of the men who went to help crews battle fires in Northern California were excited to go. 

 

Engine Boss Zane Thompson, Grant Lucas and Jeff Pauline could be in the vicinity of San Jose for 10 days or longer, depending on the need. 

 

“They’re all what we refer to as red card certified so they have to pass a physical abilities test,” Hewitt said. “They wear a certain amount of weight, hike a certain time within a certain period to show that they’re physically capable of doing it. And then they’re trained in the strategies and tactics of wildland firefighting. “

 

Hewitt says his crew can learn a lot by going out on these wildland firefighting missions. 

 

“The three firefighters that I just mentioned, they’re biting at the bit,” he said. “They like this stuff. That’s what’s in their blood and they want to get out and fight a real wildfire and get the expertise. Zane Thompson, the engine boss that went out, he is one of our captains. He is very experienced. He has been out on quite a few of these deployments. And he oversees the Park City District’s wildland firefighting team. Then we rotate who we send out. They learn a lot about the terminology, the strategies and the tactics from the guys that are doing this stuff every day.” 

 

Hewitt says there is nothing glamorous about the mission or the work they are asked to do. They live in tents and at times, he says, may be given a Motel 6 room and a shower. 

 

“But they could be assigned to being a lookout where they sit on a bumper of a fire engine for hours on end,” he said. “And they’re the safety lookout for the firefighters down below. … They could be down cutting fire lines and breathing smoke and dust and dirt the whole time. They don't know until they get there. They have to be ready to do any of that.” 

 

Hewitt says the Park City Fire District and firefighters are compensated when they send assistance out to other regions.  

 

“We show up on the positive side after our firefighters get back,” he said. “They get paid and the fire district gets paid. We get paid per mile. They took three fire engines to help fight the wildfire. we get paid for the mileage, the upkeep, the maintenance, the fuel and then some. So, the Park City Fire Department doesn’t lose anything.”