200-acre fire along I-80 near SLC airport fully contained; cause under investigation

Jun 20, 2022, 2:03 PM | Updated: May 21, 2023, 4:42 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Two wildfires broke out within hours of each other on Sunday, leading to closures on the ground and in the sky.

One of the wildfires, named the Wiley Post Fire, quickly torched 200 acres along Interstate 80, from Wright Brothers Drive to Bangerter Highway.

The wildfire led to multiple closures along I-80 and Bangerter Highway and some flight delays at Salt Lake City International Airport.

Salt Lake City Fire said it’s hard to know exactly what started the fire. That is, trying to trace back and find the ignition point can be tricky as the fire could have been 50 miles down the road before they started getting calls.

The fire department said it could have been a person, car or cigarette butt that caused the fire, and with such a big swath of land the wildfire covered, it’s hard to know exactly what happened.

This comes as a separate fire was spotted popping up along 5600 West near the train track overpass within eyesight of the Wiley Post Fire.

Power outages also worked their way across the area with one of the larger outages happening in Bluffdale.

In that area, around 2,300 customers were affected. Rocky Mountain Power says the power outages were caused by a circuit breaker trip in the substation serving the area — a safety measure likely brought on by the powerful wind.

“Wind probably causes more outages than any other single thing,” said Rocky Mountain Power spokesperson David Eskelsen.

When wind and Mother Nature come together with power lines, Rocky Mountain Power said it is possible a fire comes out on the other side.

“When faults, electrical faults, happen, sometimes, there’s a spark, an arc that goes from one place to another where it’s not intended to because electricity is always seeking the shortest path to ground,” said Eskelsen.

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200-acre fire along I-80 near SLC airport fully contained; cause under investigation