SUMMIT COUNTY — The near completion of the new Summit County Wildland Fire Resource (SCWFU) force was announced at the Summit County Council meeting on Wednesday. The formation of the volunteer force began May 11, when County Management met with Emergency Management and the Summit County Fire Warden.
Summit County Wildland Fire Resource will be a deployable volunteer force through the Emergency Operations Center within the Emergency Management Department. Each volunteer firefighter must be red-card certified by gaining the wildfire incident qualifications certification.
While considered volunteers, there will be compensation after two hours of deployment. The County Fire Warden will lead the unit, and funding will come from Summit County.
Vice Chair Roger Armstrong brought attention to the force’s ultimate goal, asking, “What does this mean for us practically? I mean, it sounds like we’ve added more equipment, and we’ve got more bodies coming in. We’ve got guys being trained. If a wildland fire happens, what is the goal of this group to actually knock it down?”
The plan is to have SCWFU members deployed on a rotating schedule. The volunteers can serve on hand or in engine crews performing fire suppression and fuel management duties. All personnel within the SCWFU will follow Utah State motor vehicles laws regardless if en route to an incident, or base, as requested by the Summit County Sheriff’s office.
SCWFU will follow the current mobilization procedures in the Summit County Wildland Fire Mobilization Guide. All teams will be fully equipped and self-contained units during deployment until the fire is taken over by a Type 3 or higher Incident Management Team.
“Fire departments will still be the initial attack, but if they need additional resources because other districts are tied up, or it’s a multi-day like a Tollgate fire or Rockport fire … we get more depth with the volunteers,” said Summit County Fire Warden Bryce Boyer.
According to Boyer, seven red-carded volunteers are currently ready should the need arise. Others are completing the online exam portion and are expected to finish field testing in fall 2022 or spring 2023.