LAYTON -- Brad Wilks is exhausted after helping to fight one of Arizona's largest wildfires for more than two weeks.
Wilks, captain of the Layton Fire Department, joined other Top of Utah firefighters to aid the containment efforts on the blazes. Three wildfires, dubbed the Monument Fire, the Horseshoe Two Fire and the Wallow Fire, have been scorching southeastern Arizona for the past two weeks.
Wilks, Ralph Stott and Gary McCloy arrived at the Horseshoe Two Fire on June 7, and as they returned to their station Wednesday afternoon, it was 95 percent contained. But it was a hard fight against a dangerous foe.
"An entire mountain range burned," Wilks said. "There were areas that looked like the moon, after the fire moved through it."
Wilks and the two other firefighters with him took the night shift, creating backfires from sun down to sun up. Backfires are controlled burns that destroy potential fuel for the fire as a means to prevent it from spreading.
But the flames, which would climb as high as 100 feet, were not the firefighters' only concern. Warring drug cartels make frequent use of the mountains they were in, particularly at night, Wilks said.
"There were hundreds of border patrol agents" watching out, he said. "So that was a unique twist to fighting a fire."
But once firefighters retired to one of two bases set up for them to rest -- evacuated school gymnasiums -- the 20- to 40-mph winds would blow the fire right over their firebreaks, and they would be back at it again the next night.
They eventually caught up. When Wilks and his team left Tuesday night, the fire was little more than some puffs of smoke, he said. Altogether, it had burned more than 200,000 acres of land.
Layton Fire Chief Kevin Ward said the fight has been a long and tiring one for his men. All of them will have four days off before they get back to work in Layton.
Layton, as well as Weber Fire District, has been fighting alongside the thousands of men and women combating the disaster.
Weber Fire District sent its men to the Wallow Fire, the largest of the three. The Wallow Fire is also the largest wildfire in Arizona history.
On Friday evening, Syracuse Fire Department sent two firefighters with one of its brush fire engines to help fight the Monument Fire, said Fire Chief Craig Cottrell.
But the firefighters had to turn around and come home before they reached the fire. Their developmental engine was not compliant with the federal regulations for fighting the fire, Cottrell said.
Whenever a disaster such as the fires takes place, fire agencies can add themselves to a national list of available resources. The three Utah departments were among the volunteering agencies.
Wilks said he fought alongside men and women from as far away as Oregon and Washington. He was happy to see people from around the country coming together for a common cause.
But right now, he's just happy to see his kids and his own bed.