MVFD crew heads for California

August 2, 2018

MOHAVE VALLEY — A Mohave Valley Fire Department crew has taken its skills and work ethic on the road, a department official said Wednesday.

The four-member crew left July 25 for the Idyllwild, Calif., area to fight the Cranston Fire, Fire Marshal Don Gibson said.

Engine boss Dave Aragon, firefighter/engine boss trainee Mike Kavanagh, firefighter Mike Lowenthal and Capt. Jax Hilton were released from that blaze east of Hemet in Riverside County on Tuesday and reassigned to the Owens Fire, north of Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

Gibson said that if the crew is needed for the full assignment, it could be kept on the road until Aug. 8.

The crew is on a wildland assignment through the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, which has an arrangement with California to provide additional crews when needed.

Gibson said the MVFD sends people out of state almost every year. He said that the assignments require particular certifications, which every member of the department has.

When the MVFD gets a request for assistance, he said, personnel are polled regarding their interest, and those who want can sign up for slots on a rotating list.

“If you went out this time, the guy under you is gonna get asked first next,” he said.

The fire district is still protected, Gibson said, with off-duty personnel given absent crew members’ shifts. The MVFD is compensated by the state for its costs, he said.

Gibson said the MVFD generally gets back positive evaluations regarding the performance of its crews on wildland assignments.

“Our guys get out there and bust their butts,” he said. “They do what they’re asked to do and they go above and beyond.

”Our community should be extremely proud (of the job the crews do) whether they’re on duty in-district, anywhere in Arizona or anywhere in the United States.”

Other Mohave County fire districts with crews now fighting California wildfires include Pinion Pine, Yucca, Golden Valley, Desert Hills and Beaver Dam-Littlefield.

There are at least 18 wildfires burning in California. Collectively, the fires have killed eight people — including three firefighters — while destroying more than 1,000 homes and businesses.

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