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Thread: LODD Utah Firefighter Dies Battling Wildfire

  1. #1
    Administrator Neil's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
    South West

    LODD Utah Firefighter Dies Battling Wildfire

    Updated: 08-18-2006 03:22:20 PM

    Courtesy of KUTV

    Video: Firefighter Dies Battling Wildfire Near Oak City

    Richfield, Utah-- Firefighters are mourning the death of one of their own.

    Thirty-three-year-old Spencer Koyle died Thursday while fighting a wildfire in Fishlake National Forest in central Utah.

    Officials say the Koyle was working on the "Devil's Den" fire which was ignited by lightning on Tuesday.

    "We've pulled all firefighters off the line tonight we have another incident team coming in tomorrow to take over management of this fire," said Davida Carnahan with the U.S. Forest Service.

    The victim's identity was not immediately released, pending notification of the family. It was also not immediately known exactly how the firefighter died or the injuries they received.

    A team with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management will arrive at the Fishlake National Forest sometime on Friday morning.

    Meanwhile, the "Devil's Den" fire continues to burn in the Canyon Mountain range above Oak City, Utah. Officials say it has burned roughly 250 acres.

    Funeral information below..

    Copyright CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    Republished with permission of KUTV.

  2. #2
    Administrator Neil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    South West

    Wind Shift Blamed in Utah Firefighter's Death

    Funeral information in bold below

    Updated: 08-21-2006 01:00:09 PM

    Deseret Morning News


    Millard County sheriff's investigators say shifting winds caused a wildfire to change directions and overtake a firefighter, killing him.

    Spencer Stanley Koyle, 33, died Thursday afternoon while fighting the Devil's Den Fire burning about three miles east of Oak City.

    "He fought fires for several years, and he was very experienced," Koyle's brother-in-law, Rick Whiting, told the Deseret Morning News on Friday. "That's why it's a shock and surprise to us all. It gives you an idea of how dangerous the fires are."

    Koyle leaves behind a wife, Nichole, and three children, ages 7, 4 and 18 months. He was employed as a fire operation supervisor at the Bureau of Land Management's Fillmore office.

    Millard County sheriff's deputies said Koyle and about 30 other firefighters were working the Devil's Den Fire in Oak Creek Canyon when the wind shifted and changed the direction and intensity of the fire.

    Lookouts for the firefighting team ordered everyone to evacuate.

    "He covered quite a bit of ground, but he just couldn't outrun the fire," Millard County Sheriff Robert Dekker said Friday.

    Reconstructing the death, the sheriff said it appears the fire had Koyle surrounded. He deployed a fire shelter, which can protect firefighters should they become trapped.

    "I don't think it provided enough protection in this incident. He deployed it, and (the fire) came right over the top of him," Dekker said.

    "It was just a tremendous fire for a few minutes. Everybody just tried to evacuate, and when there was a head count taken, they knew they were one firefighter missing."

    Firefighters who were on the scene when Koyle died were sent home, said Davida Carnahan with the Richfield Interagency Fire Center.

    "We've also ordered a crisis management team to help our employees through this time," she said Friday.

    At the tiny fire station in Holden, the American flag was flying at half staff in honor of Koyle.

    "It's a devastating blow," Whiting said. "Spencer is a big part of this family. He meant a lot. He's a good man, and it will be hard to let him go."

    The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise said Friday it was sending a team of investigators to look into Koyle's death. Among the ranks of those who fight wildfires, his is the seventh death in the past two weeks, said NIFC spokesman Randy Eardley. Two firefighters died in a helicopter crash in California, and four died in a helicopter crash in Idaho.

    In Utah, Eardley said Koyle's death is the first since 2004, when the pilot of a single engine air tanker died in a crash in Washington County's Dammeron Valley. In 2000, two firefighters from a Utah State Prison crew were killed when the group was struck by lightning in the Stansbury Mountains.

    A Type I fire team from Southern California has arrived to take control of fighting the Devil's Den Fire. The blaze has scorched about 300 acres of pinyon, juniper and brush. It was sparked by lightning just after midnight on Aug. 15.

    The Devil's Den Fire is one of five currently burning in Utah (see map). Three fires, including a 4,000-acre wildfire in Tooele County's Rush Valley, were believed to be contained on Friday.

    Approximately 8,000 acres of grass, brush, pinyon and juniper have been torched in the Badger Fire, burning about 11 miles southwest of Minersville. The Color Country Fire Agency said that fire has been tough to fight, in part because of a lack of resources available across the country.

    "Because there were so many fires all at once across the country, from northern California to Montana, our resources were stretched thin," Eardley said. Contributing: Sam Penrod

    Editor's Note: Viewings will be held at the Holden LBS War Chapel on the Tuesday of August 22 from 6-8 p.m. and the following morning from 9:30-10:30 a.m. The funeral ceremony will commence at the Chapel on August 23 at 11 a.m. followed by burial at Holden Cemetery.


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