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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.

FY20/21 Accomplishments

The 2020 wildfire season was historically busy for the nation, including large catastrophic fires throughout the Western States. The Division supported over 140 deployments to 8 different states, 3 Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) deployments to California and Oregon, provided initial attack to multiple local fires and completed over 5000 hours of project work for UFA Communities.

For FY20/21, the Fuels Crew was funded with a transfer from General Fund, State of Utah contracted project work and awarded grants. The crew conducted the majority of the 5,000 hours of mitigation work through chipping and fuels reduction projects. The crew responded to multiple local fires (including Crestwood, Parleys and Neff’s fires), conducted wildfire risk home assessments and hosted Chipper Days for high-risk communities within UFA jurisdiction.

The busy wildfire season provided multiple opportunities for the Division 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 (2 seasonal employees were hired as full-time firefighters with UFA).

The Division was 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 countless hours of mitigation work. As stated before, over 5000 hours of mitigation work were done for UFA communities and over 250 home assessments were conducted. CWPP’s for several UFA communities were all finalized and/or updated.

During the FY20/21 Budget Process the Board approved the upgrade of three Firefighter positions to Wildland Specialists. The promotional process was completed in February 2021 and three firefighters were promoted to the positions. The three specialists will be transferred to the Wildland Division from April- October and will return to Emergency Operations to work at Station 103 for the remainder of the year.

The Wildland Division received Board approval for the upgrade of three seasonal positions to Variable FTEs. These are leadership positions on the Hand Crew that are required for certification as an Interagency Hotshot Crew.

The 2020 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 were submitted to various agencies for funding of mitigation work in our service area in the amount of $185,000 and nine projects were secured under contract in the amount of $235,500. This funding will help offset the cost of Wildland Division personnel.

FY21/22 Action Items

We are fully committed to fulfilling the actions necessary to achieve the objectives found in the 2021- 2023 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 Community Wildfire Protection Plans already completed by January 2022
  • Complete Community Wildfire Protection Plans for UFA Communities not already in place by January of 2022
  • Use initial attack responses to train and mentor UFA Operations personnel on local wildland fire responses by July 2021
    • 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 2021 (increase the number of personnel to 15)
  • Evaluate capital needs for all programs, create a Capital Replacement Plan and identify options for funding
  • Remain compliant with the certification process for the Hand Crew to be recognized as a Hotshot Crew by July 2024
  • Fill the three remaining leadership positions for the Hand Crew as Variable Full-time Employees to meet the requirements for Hotshot Crew certification
  • Have an active role in the Utah Training and Certification Committee to ensure UFA’s training needs are being met