Missoula Firefighters Expecting to Spend Thanksgiving in California After Call For Help
Many fire fighters from Montana are expecting to spend Thanksgiving in California this year, after a local response to a national call for help. Missoula Rural Fire Department Lieutenant Nick Houppert explains.
"There was a request put in by the State of California for help from the western states of the country and our department joined other departments around the surrounding area; Missoula, Bitterroot Valley and all of Montana, to send folks down with engines," Houppert said. "We sent six of our folks: four of them in a Type 1 engine, a structure protection engine and then two other individuals in a them in a wildland brush truck. Last I heard there were 14 personnel going from the Missoula Fire Department going too, as well as some folks from the Bitterroot."
Thought the current fires in California have reached an unprecedented expense and death toll, aid from Montana is not unprecedented.
"Usually we are going over and helping our neighboring states: Wyoming, Idaho, or even Washington, but this is the second year in a row we've had a call in our off-season to go down to California," Houppert said. "We sent down personnel last December too."
The Missoula fire trucks were driving through Utah on Monday and expect to be in California for at least two weeks. If California needs the equipment longer another crew may be sent down, in the meantime overtime is being used to help fill the gaps and make fire prevention and response in Montana a priority.