Parleys Fire 15% Contained, Evacuations Still In Effect
Aug 7, 2020, 9:54 PM | Updated: 10:00 pm
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Parleys Fire was 15% contained Friday evening as residents continued to wait to get back into their homes and cabins.
Firefighters said the biggest threat, at this time, was the possibility that a spark could ignite all the dry brush inside the containment area. Evacuations will remain in place until that brush is cleared.
Shelly Thanye Rich was up all night, concerned about her cabin in Mount Aire Canyon.
— Utah Fire Info (@UtahWildfire) August 8, 2020
“I hardly slept last night worrying about the canyon and the cabin,” she said. “It’s really sacred to those of us who have lived there and grown up there and have our roots.”
Three helicopters worked with 130 firefighters Friday to build a containment line around the fire.
Interstate 80 was closed most of Friday as crews worked on the fire. The interstate is now open, but it could be closed again if firefighters need to get helicopters in there to dump water on flames.
#GoodNews: I-80 in Parley’s Canyon is open for business… Cabin goers, hike goers, and get away from COVID- goers allez-y! (Note- this is a soft tap reopening, canyon may need to close again if 🚁 need 💧 access.) @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/2kfQ24do8z
— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) August 7, 2020
The fire was likely human-caused. It started near the highway and exit 133 Thursday evening.
Kait Webb with the Utah Division of Forestry said, “They do think that it was caused by chains dragging from a vehicle.”
Flames quickly climbed up the mountainside and burned about 80 acres of dry brush, grass and scrub oak.
“We’re not too happy about this, they said the fire danger was high, just didn’t expect it,” said Joe Reimann who evacuated from his cabin where he has lived for more than 50 years.
Evacuation orders remain in place for the 250 or so homes in the Mount Aire community.
Firefighters are pouncing on hot spots and patches of green vegetation in the containment area.
“There have been several threats it’s scary because it is just a little single lane road and once you are up in the canyon there is no getting out,” said Rich.
Reiman said there have been close calls before. “So that is at least twice before in 15 years,” he said.
Rich said the only time the flames made it this close into the canyon was back in the ’70s.
“We were at a football game at the University of Utah,” she said. “This is how many families share the passion and they announced it at the football game, ‘there’s a fire!’”
Residents were grateful for the hard work to put out the fire.
“Lives are precious, other things not so much,” said Reiman.
No structures have burned.