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Utah firefighters ready for call to massive California blaze

Utah firefighters ready for call to massive California blaze (Photos: KUTV)

(KUTV) Some Utah firefighters are already there, and more could soon be headed to the massive and deadly Napa fire.

A spokesman for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands said a "hand crew," with 20 firefighters is on scene, and the BLM West Desert District said it's awaiting word whether two engine teams will be called for duty.

"It's heartbreaking what's going on, the structures, peoples' homes, the loss of life, it's catastrophic," Nick Hillman, an engine captain on the West Desert force said.

"We're always ready when needed. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to California right now."

He also may be going to going to the hot, dry, and burning Golden State.

The veteran firefighter has been attacking wild land blazes almost since the time he graduated from Murray High. He's had 17 seasons in the heat of battle---but this fire may be different than any he's faced.

"To the extreme and the intensity of what California is experiencing, I've yet to experience that," he said.

Bob Farrell, BLM associate fire management officer, said a national dispatch center could summon his firefighters at any time.

"Are you nervous about your crews?" 2News asked.

"I don't know that 'nervous' would be the correct word," he replied. "They're always at the forefront of my mind, keeping my folks safe on the fire lines."

Farrell said Utah firefighting exports would reciprocate for imports here last summer, during Utah's busy wild fire season.

Captain Hillman, a husband and father of two, has said goodbye to his wife and kids over and over again to spend 14-15 hour days near the smoke and flames.

He's prepared to do it again.

"You want to help," Hillman said. "You want to do what you can, and try and help in any way that you can."

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