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Utah wildfires nearing full containment as storms move in

Crews released as local agencies take over task of mopping up hot spots.

First Published Aug 22 2013 08:54 am • Last Updated Aug 22 2013 09:25 pm

Firefighting efforts were winding down in Utah on Thursday after nearly two weeks of crews scrambling to tame lightning-sparked blazes that consumed more than 70,000 acres of high desert, range and forest lands.

Tooele County’s Patch Springs Fire was 80 percent contained and largely inactive, having blackened 31,010 acres since being ignited by thunderstorms on Aug. 10. Juniper, sagebrush and timber south, west and east of Deseret Peak and on the Goshute Indian Reservation in Skull Valley fueled the blaze.

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"Crews [will] continue to patrol the fire line on the western edge [of the fire area], as well as the communities of Terra and Big Hollow," said Fire Information Officer Bryanna Kuhlman.

In all, the Patch Springs blaze destroyed five homes, eight outbuildings and one business.

She said the fire would be allowed to continue burning within the perimeter until remaining vegetation is consumed or the smoldering landscape is finally doused by a cycle of rain showers forecast for the region heading into this weekend.

Meanwhile, responsibility for the Patch Springs blaze has been returned to local fire departments for mopping up hot spots and further securing containment lines.

The State Fire, which burned nearly 30,000 acres within northern Utah’s Box Elder County and southern Idaho’s Pocatello Valley, was to be officially declared 100 percent contained late Sunday. Many crews had been demobilized as remaining firefighters focused on hot spots and patrolling the remote fire’s perimeter.

The nearly 2,900-acre Millville Fire in Cache County, too, was nearing full containment. All restrictions and evacuations for Blacksmith Fork, Millville and Left Hand Fork canyons have been lifted.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims


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