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Utah firefighters deployed to Colorado floods

Published September 13, 2013 1:55 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Scores of Utah firefighters were headed to Colorado on Friday to help deal with widespread flooding.

Utah Task Force One — which includes 76 firefighters and other personnel from Salt Lake City Fire, Unified Fire and Park City — received deployment orders about 4 a.m. Friday, according to Unified Fire spokesman Clint Mecham.

The crews headed out in a convoy about 7 a.m., destined for the heavily flooded areas in Lyons, Colo., near Boulder.

By 4 p.m., the team was in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Mecham said the deployment resulted from an order from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The deployed personnel will do search and rescue. Mecham said the heavy rains and clouds — which are expected to continue through Tuesday — make it impossible to use helicopters in the flooded area. As a result, Mecham said, the search and rescue process is slow and labor-intensive.

The Utah task force joins a team from Nebraska. Task forces from Nevada and Missouri also are on alert. Mecham described the flooding in Colorado as widespread and severe.

"A lot of it is due to previous burn scars," he said, "and the mudslides that are associated with that."

Salt Lake City Fire spokesman Jasen Asay added that several K9 units also deployed with the group.

The firefighters were expected to arrive in Colorado about 4 p.m.

Authorities do not know how long the firefighters will be in Colorado. Mecham said the minimum stay would be for about 72 hours, and it could be as long as two weeks.

Asay said the deployments should not affect the departments' abilities to fight fires in Utah.

jdalrymple@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jimmycdii