Utah task force returning from flood-soaked Colorado
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After a week of search-and-rescue efforts in flooded areas of Colorado, scores of Utah firefighters are heading home Friday.

Utah Task Force One — which includes 76 firefighters and other personnel from Salt Lake City Fire, Unified Fire and Park City — received deployment orders early on Sept. 13, according to Unified Fire Capt. Clint Mecham.

After a week of contacting residents in the canyons above Boulder, Co., Mecham said the team is no longer needed. They left Colorado at about noon and were expected back in Salt Lake City at about 9 p.m.

"The weather has eased up and it's stopped raining," Mecham said Friday morning. "[Colorado officials] have shifted from search and rescue mode to clean up and recovery mode."

Mecham said Utah's team contacted residents living in the isolated communities above Boulder, assisting them with either evacuating from their homes or helping them put a shelter in place if the residents wished to stay.

Mecham said that as of Wednesday, the team evacuated over 300 people, and helped another 240 put shelters in place. Thursday was another busy day for the team, but Mecham said he hasn't received numbers of how many flood victims were assisted that day.

After heavy flooding last week, Colorado officials declared a state of emergency, and Utah's team, along with a task force from Nebraska were sent to assist Colorado's task force, Mecham said. Over this last week, teams from Nevada and Missouri also were called to assist. All of the teams from outside states were demobilized by Friday, Mecham said.

Utah's firefighters are expected to return home late Friday evening.

jmiller@sltrib.com