PRICE, Utah (May 31, 2022) – The Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands Southeast Area, their interagency partners and the Bureau of Land Management Green River District were selected as the winner of the 2022 Pulaski Award by the National Interagency Fire Center.
The interagency partners were honored with the award for their work on the Bear and Bennion Creek fires in June 2021.
The award recipients were honored last week in a ceremony held in Price, Utah.
“We are honored to be included as one of the partners in the 2022 Pulaski Award,” said Jason Johnson, the Southeast Area Manager for the FFSL. “The experience of the Bear and Bennion Fires reinforced the importance of interagency cooperation throughout the year in allowing agencies and communities to respond effectively to fires in order to minimize wildfire impacts to citizens, communities, and infrastructure.”
The Pulaski Award is a 30-inch bronze statue of a wildland firefighter named after Idaho-based U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Ranger Ed Pulaski. The award’s namesake led his crew to the safety of a railroad tunnel while fighting through thick smoke, heat and flames during “The Great Fire of 1910” in Montana and Idaho.
BLM Green River District Manager Lance Porter, who presented the award, said, “This award recognizes the amazing quality of our interagency relationships. It underscores the importance of how critical these relationships are in a wildland fire setting.”
The Bear and the Bennion Creek fires were started by lightning within days of each other and threatened Helper City and critical natural resources and transportation corridors.
Johnson expressed his gratitude for the involvement and critical role that local agencies played in the success of fire crews.
“We are especially grateful for the active and meaningful involvement of the county, cities, and several state agencies that are not regularly involved in fire suppression,” said Johnson.
On June 4, 2021, the Bennion Creek fire was started in the Manti-La Sal National Forest and consumed 8,313 acres of state, private, and public land that the BLM and the Forest Service manage.
Shortly after the start of the Bennion Creek fire, on June 9, 2021, the Bear Fire started and quickly grew to 5,000 acres the first evening and eventually consumed 12,170 acres.
“I am proud of our state fire personnel and our interagency partnerships at the local and federal level,” said Jamie Barnes, Director of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. “Fire doesn’t recognize boundaries, and the way we respond should reflect that too. Effective partnering and teamwork are at the core of our division.”
To learn more about the state’s wildland fire program, please visit: ffsl.utah.gov/fire