Yuma, Arizona - The four City of Yuma Fire Department Firefighters sent to the California wildfires completed their two week deployment yesterday and have arrived back in Yuma. They were part of an Imperial Valley Task Force response to a mutual aid request back on December 5th. The Task Force itself remained in place at the “Thomas” fire with four additional YFD Firefighters leaving Yuma yesterday, arriving last night to take the place of those who came home.
The Task Force members from other agencies were also replaced by fresh personnel. It is not known at this time how long the Imperial Valley Task Force will remain out but those freshly deployed are prepared to be gone up to two weeks. Originally the Imperial Valley team worked on the “Creek” fire, but on December 10th were released and reassigned to the Thomas fire burning near Ventura, CA. At last report the Thomas fire had burned over 270,000 acres and was 50% contained, with more than 8,000 personnel involved in the firefighting efforts. Our personnel are currently assigned to structure protection duties.
The YFD personnel who returned today are Fire Captain Erik Lohman, Fire Engineer Juan Garcia, Firefighter Jose Huizar, and Firefighter Eric Mendivil. Captain Lohman shared that the 24 hour shifts locating and extinguishing hotspots left little time for breaks and rest. He and the others who returned today were all glad to be home and especially in time for Christmas.