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About Wildland

The Unified Fire Authority Wildland Division (UFA-Wildland) provides highly trained wildland professionals that are called to respond to wildfires as well as all-risk incidents on local, state, and federal levels. Resources also provide valuable education and services to UFA municipalities and Salt Lake County, as well as state and federal jurisdictions. UFA-Wildland offers many opportunities for firefighters within the division on different resources, serving and achieving a range of missions.

Local Resources

UFA-Wildland employs two different local resources for wildfire response, the Camp Williams crew (CW) and the Initial Attack crew (IA). These resources perform suppression and mitigation activities but can differ in function and location. CW is primarily an engine crew that operates on Camp Williams and immediate surrounding areas, and IA operates as a small hand crew in UFA jurisdictions as well as mutual aid areas. Both of these crews run out of UFA station 127 and work closely together, and squads on each crew rotate between each program throughout the summer. 

Camp Williams

Camp Williams is a 24,000-acre Utah National Guard (UTNG) installation, located between Salt Lake and Utah Counties, that provides many training opportunities for service members and other organizations. Starting in 2013, the UFA-Wildland contracted with the UTNG to suppress and manage wildfires for the installation. This allows the UTNG continue to meet their mission and objectives for training of personnel during months of higher fire potential.

The CW crew employs 12-14 personnel and runs several pieces of apparatus. The crew consists of a Fire Management Officer (FMO), an Assistant Fire Management Officer (AFMO) and two 5-6 person squads led by a squad boss. The crew runs 7 days a week with each squad operating roughly on an alternating two days on and two off schedule. Daily activities for the crew consist of morning briefing, coordination with UTNG, physical training (PT), fire and medical training, etc. 

Initial Attack

The IA crew helps to cover UFA’s 15 municipalities, all unincorporated Salt Lake County lands, and any mutual aid areas from wildfires. The crew started in 2019 to help with mitigation, education, and wildfire suppression efforts in UFA’s wildland urban interface (WUI) areas. The IA crew consists of a module leader and two 5-6 person squads run by a squad boss. IA’s daily activities include morning briefings, fuels mitigation projects, wildfire risk assessments, and community wildfire education events.

National Resources

UFA-Wildland employs 3 different programs that respond to respond to local, state, and national fires and all-hazard incidents. These programs are the handcrew, engines, and single resource. They are used to fill many different roles and positions on incidents in suppression and management.

Engine Program

The engine program started in 2005 with one type 6 engine and then expanded to 2 type 3/4 engines, E 301 and E 302, in 2006. The current engine platforms can fulfill the roles of both type 3 and type 4 engines. These engines run out of UFA station 120. They are staffed with 5-6 personnel that include an engine boss (ENGB) and an operator and the other crew members are comprised of people rotated from CW and IA.

Salt Lake 1

The wildland program started in 1992 as a ten-person initial attack crew. The program evolved over a few years and in 1996 two national handcrews were formed, Salt Lake 1 (SL1) and Salt Lake 2 (SL2). These crews deployed as type 2 IA handcrews. In 2010, because of financial difficulties, Salt Lake 2 was shut down. Salt Lake 1 is the only handcrew in the wildland division currently. Starting in the 2022 season, SL1 officially started the process to become an Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC). SL1 runs out of station 120. The crew has 20 personnel with a superintendent, a foreman, 3 squad bosses, and 3 lead crew members.

Single Resource

The single resource program is made up of full-time personnel from UFA’s operations and other divisions. These people respond to wildfires and all-hazard incidents to fill positions as incident medical support, operational overhead, and various positions on Incident Management Teams (IMTs).

End of Season Reports

Division Leader

Wildland Division Chief

Anthony Widdison

Organizational Structure

* Wildland utilizes personnel from Emergency Operations from April-October each year. These personnel are on loan from Operations and work under the title of Wildland Specialist. They fill leadership positions on the engines, fuels crew, and with Camp Williams. All costs (salary, overtime, and benefits) are covered by Wildland Fund budget for the time they are assigned to the position. Their absence from Operations does require overtime shifts to cover their shifts.

FY22/23 Accomplishments

  • The 2022 wildfire season was busy for the nation, including large fires throughout the western states. The Wildland division supported over 79 deployments to eleven different states and provided initial attack to multiple local fires.
  • For FY22/23, the Fuels Crew conducted the majority of the 5,000 hours of mitigation work through chipping and fuels reduction projects. The crew responded to local fires (including Parleys Canyon Fire), conducted wildfire risk home assessments, and hosted Chipper Days for high-risk communities within UFA jurisdiction. (Initiative 3)
  • We were able to participate in prevention, preparedness, and mitigation work for UFA communities. We made great progress with the finalization of CWPP’s, hosted FireWise days, and completed hours of mitigation work. As stated before, over 5,000 hours of mitigation work were done for UFA communities and over 250 home assessments were conducted.
  • The busy wildfire season provided multiple opportunities to facilitate training and qualification advancement. We certified several high-level positions in accordance with the National Wildfire Coordination Group (NWCG) and continued to supply the full-time staffing pool with qualified candidates (six seasonal employees were hired as full-time firefighters with UFA).
  • Wildland received Board approval to upgrade the final three seasonal positions to variable FTEs. These are leadership positions on the hand crew required for Interagency Hotshot Crew certification.
  • The 2022 wildfire season provided sufficient opportunity for our crew to be utilized as a Hotshot Trainee Crew, which contributed to a higher number of days on assignment and generated revenue above the projected amount. The Hand Crew is compliant with the certification process and will continue to work toward meeting minimum requirements outlined in the Standards for Interagency Hotshot Crew Operations Guide, with the goal of becoming a fully qualified Interagency Hotshot Crew by FY23/24.
  • Relationships were created and fostered with the State of Utah and Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands and other key players from the BLM and Forest Service.
  • It was also a good opportunity to secure State of Utah-contracted mitigation funds and apply for grant funding for wildfire prevention purposes. Several grants and projects were submitted to various agencies for funding of mitigation work in our service area in the amount of $75,000. This funding helped offset the cost of Wildland division personnel.

FY23/24 Action Items

We are fully committed to fulfilling the actions necessary to achieve the objectives found in the Unified Fire Authority Strategic Plan. As a division of the organization, we take ownership of our portion of the plan and will implement the necessary actions to meet our commitment. We will continue to act on areas that will improve our service delivery and program operations.

  • Update and manage completed Community Wildfire Protection Plans by January 2024
  • Complete Community Wildfire Protection Plans for all UFA communities by January 2024
  • Use initial attack responses to train and mentor UFA Operations personnel on local wildland fire responses by November 2023
    • Utilize the Incident Qualification System to evaluate current task books
    • Complete or initiate Firefighter I and IC5 task books for Operations Battalion Chiefs and other interested field personnel
    • Evaluate progress of those who have current qualifications; support the initiation of task books at the next level of the Incident Command System
  • Train and staff the Fuels Crew to help complete project and mitigation work, and to be available for local wildland fires by July 2023
  • Evaluate capital needs for all programs, create a Capital Replacement Plan and identify options for funding
  • Remain compliant with the Hotshot certification process for hand crew by July 2024
  • Have an active role in the Utah Training & Certification Committee to ensure UFA’s training needs are being met