SALT LAKE – The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands recognized Josh Soper and Unified Fire Authority for their outstanding work this season at the State Fall Fire Management Meeting.
At the end of each fire season, staff from around the state come together to discuss issues that arose during the fire year and improvements being made across the state. As a part of this meeting, state office staff recognize outstanding individuals and organizations for their hard work protecting Utah from wildfire.
“This is an opportunity to recognize organizations and individuals that have really gone above and beyond this past fire year,” said Brett Ostler, State of Utah Fire Management Officer for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. “Our cooperators and local fire wardens are essential to our success when responding to wildfires.”
This year, Unified Fire Authority was honored as the Cooperator of the Year, and Josh Soper was named the Warden of the Year. Soper currently serves as the Garfield County Fire Warden.
Cooperator of the Year
Unified Fire Authority has been a valuable partner for staff in the FFSL Wasatch Front area and one of the state’s busiest and most populated jurisdictions. Due to the slow fire season experienced across the state, UFA worked with FFSL to complete numerous projects within their jurisdictional boundary.
This year, they completed 60 acres of project work and 11 acres of prescribed fire. UFA is also an active part of the community and, through collaboration with FFSL, conducted 43 chipping days and hosted three Firewise events.
Warden of the Year
Soper was nominated for the Warden of the Year award by his neighboring County Fire Warden, Brion Terry. Even though they are in different management areas in the state, the two share about 100 miles of border line between their counties.
During the Thompson Creek Fire this summer, Soper assisted the Piute County Fire Warden in communicating with the local ranchers and cattlemen and ensured their safety while locating their cattle in the wildfire area.
Soper leveraged his previous relationships within the county to communicate daily with those impacted by the fire and displayed exceptional professionalism during the execution of his duties.
This year’s recipients join a long list of former award winners who have gone above and beyond in helping address the wildfire crisis that continues to threaten homes and communities across the state.