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Sussex Countian
  • Delaware wildfire crew battling Patch Springs Fire in Utah

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  • A team of 20 wildland firefighters from Delaware is battling the Patch Spring Fire – a blaze situated about two miles northwest of Terra, Utah which has burned 10,671 acres since it was ignited by a lightning strike on Aug. 10.
    The fire is one of 34 new fires in the Eastern Great Basin Area, which has raised its Fire Preparedness Level to the maximum level of 5 on a 5-point scale. One fire in the region – the Pony Complex – has already torched over 143,000 acres.
    Local firefighters Tyler Torres, of Smyrna; Jeffrey Wilson, of Clayton; Kyle Kokoszka, of Middletown; Brian Keszler, of Middletown; and Todd Gsell, of Townsend, are part of the 20-person crew.
    Terra, Utah is located about 65 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.
    The Delaware Forest Service-trained crew is part of over 150 personnel working to protect residences and other structures on the Patch Springs blaze, which is currently 15 percent contained. The crew had been scheduled to travel to another fire before they were diverted to their current assignment. Officials estimate the blaze could be contained by Monday, Aug. 19.
    The 20-person team from Delaware departed Sunday from Blackbird State Forest in Smyrna. This is the second crew the Delaware Forest Service has dispatched this summer; the first team was sent to battle an 85,000-acre blaze near North Pole, Alaska in July.
    A Preparedness Level 5 is triggered under the following conditions:
    • three or more geographic areas are experiencing incidents requiring Type 1 and 2 IMTs
    • competition exists between geographic areas
    • nationally, 60 percent of Type 1 and 2 IMTs and crews are committed
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