Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A small shout out for the Shots!

I just thought it would be good to add some material from this past season... some of the high aclaim that many Southern Utah crews gained. This post is a "Kudos" to the Cedar City Hotshots for the lasting impression they left on the last roll of the season (2007)... great job guys!

Utah hotshots return from battling southern California fires

(ABC 4 News)
(ABC 4 News)
CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - The Cedar City Hotshots of the U.S. Forest Service returned this weekend from Southern California. The 20-man crew was the first from Utah to be deployed to the wildfires and the last to come home.

As they geared out Friday at the Color Country Fire Commander Center, they talked about being part of one of the biggest and most complex firefighting operations in recent history.

The Cedar City Hotshots had never seen a fire like this. Few have. It wasn't just the number and size of the wildfires; there have been bigger. But there was so much more at risk in this fire. So many homes. So many evacuees.

Hotshot Kyle Betty said they were ready to go the moment they heard about the fire. "You see on TV people losing their homes. All that kind of gets to you. You want to go down there and help them out, do you job and get them back in their homes," he said. Fellow Hotshot Dan Stucki added, "You definitely feel that sense of urgency. You feel the honor of performing your duty more so than ever."

The first day they were put on the frontline of the Santiago Canyon fire. They worked into the night without air support on a back burn to protect homes on the hillside. But before they could tie in a critical section of line, the fire was upon them and they had to pull back.

It was a rough start to 14 days of hot, hard and dangerous firefighting. But these hotshots would have their share of victories and even receive a little recognition for those victories.

"We stopped at a gas station," said Lane Lamoreaux, "And this lady just came up and tried to shake everybody's hand and told us how much she appreciated us being out there. That kind of helps you get up the next morning because after you've been out there a few days you drag a little bit. But when you know that people appreciate you it gives you a second wind."

The Cedar City Hotshots won't be fighting any more fires this year. They're turning in their gear to be stored for the winter. But they will be back for training in the spring - ready to take on another fire season.

Zion Helitack supported this roll by sending crewmembers to the hotshots, whom were down personel due to end of season attrition... This is a common practice for Zion Helitack to support our fellow crew in Color Country, and it provides a wonderful way for crewmembers to gain a different perspective on the fireline...


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