YUMA, Ariz. - The Yuma Fire Department's four firefighters sent to the California wildfires finished their two-week deployment Monday and arrived back in Yuma.
The Yuma firefighters 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 Monday, arriving Monday night to take the place of those who came home.
The Task Force members from other agencies were also replaced by new personnel.
It is unknown how long the Imperial Valley Task Force will remain out but those freshly deployed are prepared to be gone up to two weeks.
The Imperial Valley team initially worked on the “Creek” fire, but on December 10th were released and reassigned to the Thomas fire burning near Ventura, Calif.
The Thomas fire had burned over 270,000 acres and was 50 percent contained, with more than 8,000 personnel involved in the firefighting efforts. Yuma Fire personnel is currently assigned to structure protection duties.
The YFD personnel who returned Tuesday are Fire Captain Erik Lohman, Fire Engineer Juan Garcia, Firefighter Jose Huizar, and Firefighter Eric Mendivil.
Captain Lohman said that the 24-hour shifts locating and extinguishing hotspots left little time for breaks and rest. He and the others who returned Tuesday were all glad to be home and in time for Christmas.