Fire damages power structures, threatens state park and marina

Jun 20, 2022, 5:00 PM | Updated: 8:00 pm

GREAT SALT LAKE MARINA, UtahTwo fires that burned Friday near the Great Salt Lake — along state Route 201 and Interstate 80 — are now contained. But Rocky Mountain Power is still working to repair equipment damaged by the flames.

Throughout the weekend, power crews were busy in areas near the Great Salt Lake State Park and Marina, repairing 20 power structures that were damaged by fire.

New power poles have been put in place along SR-201 after two wildfires sparked on Friday, damaging 20 poles and impacting 42 non-residential customers. (Jed Boal/KSL TV) New power poles have been put in place along SR-201 after two wildfires sparked on Friday, damaging 20 poles and impacting 42 non-residential customers. (Jed Boal/KSL TV)

As flames approached the marina Friday, the park manager knew it was time to get out because he remembers the last damaging wildfire.

“The fire got very close to the marina several times,” said Dave Shearer, who has been park manager at the Great Salt Lake State Park and Marina for more than 20 years.

Around noon Friday, he and his staff could see the fire burning across the interstate.

“We drove over to where it was and realized we were downwind of it. So, we made the decision to evacuate the marina,” he said.

That was before 1 p.m. Friday. Power to the park, the marina and Saltair was soon knocked out when power poles up line went up in flames. But Rocky Mountain Power had those facilities on generator power by Saturday.

“It’s a very large generator, and it’s actually feeding the whole park and Saltair,” the park manager said. “So, most of the tourists who come in here won’t even notice a difference.”

The fire Friday, though, was eerily reminiscent of a fire that badly damaged the marina 12 years ago.

“It burned up basically the same whole area.”

But that fire wiped out two maintenance buildings, along with work ATVs and tools, causing about $1 million in damage. Several boats were also damaged in the fire.

In both fires, it was the dry phragmites that went up in flames, spreading the fire so quickly.

“We still don’t know what the cause of this fire was, but when those phragmites catch on fire, and the wind is blowing 60, it’s going to be a fast, hot moving fire,” Shearer said.

Forty-two non-residential customers, including the marina, lost power in the fire. Those which were not put on generators were put on alternate feeds, or they are experiencing reduced service until the work is done in the next few days.

At the marina, it’s been a much prettier day, and visitors won’t even notice that anything happened at the state park on Friday.

KSL 5 TV Live

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Fire damages power structures, threatens state park and marina