Evacuation notice lifted for Panguitch as crews continue stabilization efforts at dam

Apr 12, 2024, 1:29 PM | Updated: Apr 22, 2024, 10:04 am

PANGUITCH, Garfield County — An evacuation notice that was issued for residents of Panguitch and surrounding areas has been lifted as crews continue to stabilize a cracked portion of Panguitch Lake Dam.

State Route 143 has also reopened to regular traffic, but parts of the road will remain closed or monitored.

“I am confident with the results of our mitigation efforts to effectively reduce the pressure on the Panguitch Lake Dam and the potential for an uncontrolled release. That work allows us to lift the evacuation notice, but I do urge people to stay prepared for this and other types of hazards,” said Garfield County Sheriff Eric Houston, incident commander for the Panguitch Lake incident. “I want to thank the community for their positive response, support, and patience as we have worked through this situation. I especially appreciate the communication, collaboration, and efforts provided by all of our response partners as well.”

The main portion of the dam is intact, state officials said on Wednesday. They said the area impacted is an expansion that was added to the top of the dam sometime between 1930 and 1940. Additionally, if a failure did take place, officials said only the top 2 to 5 feet of the dam would likely breach.

Everett Taylor, one of the engineers embarking on this project, said it took a lot of collaboration and cooperation.

“That wall had continued to move toward the downstream side.” Taylor said. “We knew we needed to act very quickly to address that.”

Taylor said the dam required a three-step solution. “The first was to relieve the pressure the ice was causing on the dam. The second was to stabilize the downstream of the wall that was tipping. And the third was to continue to release water from the reservoir through the low-level outlet.” Taylor said.

Stabilization efforts include: “extending rock rip-rap across the face of the affected section of the dam,” removing ice along the upstream face of the dam and releasing as much water as possible from the lake.

Crews plan to release enough water to drop the lake’s level below the affected section to make a full assessment of the damage. As of Friday morning, the lake had been lowered by 8 inches.

“Authorities urge community members to stay informed should situations change,” state officials said. “Should conditions evolve, information would be disseminated to the public through local media, social media, and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office Website.”

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources issued an emergency fishing closure at Panguitch Lake on Wednesday, which is effective immediately and remains in place “until further notice.”

Authorities urged residents to be careful near Panguitch Creek, which will be flowing higher and faster due to water releases from the lake.

Staff engineers from the Utah Division of Water Rights will continue to be onsite daily and work with deputies and the dam owner to plan for anticipated spring runoff. “Once those levels have subsided, engineering and plans will be developed for permanent repairs to the affected area of Panguitch Lake Dam.”

Remaining closures

  • North Shore Road is closed except for property owners between the boat ramp and S.R. 143.
  • The area surrounding the Panguitch Lake Dam will also remain closed to all unauthorized personnel due to unsafe conditions.
  • Due to high and swift water, Marilyn Bulkley Park near Panguitch City is closed.
  • Ice fishing on Panguitch Lake is not permitted. With the water level being reduced, ice conditions could be dangerous.
  • Use caution near Panguitch Creek. Increased water released from the dam has increased the risk of high, swift water.  Please watch children and pets and keep them away from the creek. Turn around, don’t drown. Further flood preparedness information can be found at https://beready.utah.gov/utah-hazards/flood/.

The lake was a natural lake that was turned into a reservoir through a series of water projects, starting as early as 1885, according to the state. The Utah Division of Water Resources said Panguitch Lake was 87% full and holding nearly 19,500 acre-feet of water as of Friday morning.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

FILE: Salt Lake City police said a 51-year-old man was taken into custody Saturday for allegedly ho...

Mark Jones

Salt Lake City police arrest suspect in domestic violence situation

Salt Lake City police said a 51-year-old man was taken into custody Saturday for allegedly holding a woman against her will.

10 hours ago

Richins and her legal team in the courtroom....

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Kouri Richins’ attorneys ask to withdraw from representing her in murder case

Attorneys for Kouri Richins requested to withdraw as her defense counsel and asked a judge to appoint new defense attorneys on Friday.

10 hours ago

The city of Draper unveiled a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument on Saturday. It's meant to honor...

Alex Cabrero

Draper unveils Gold Star Families Memorial Monument

The city of Draper unveiled a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument on Saturday. It's meant to honor the families of fallen soldiers.

11 hours ago

(Spanish Fork Police Department)...

Mark Jones and Brianna Chavez

Two teenage girls in critical condition after being hit by a car in Spanish Fork

Spanish Fork police said two teenage girls were struck by a vehicle Saturday and were transported by helicopter to Primary Children's Hospital in critical condition.

12 hours ago

Police say a construction worker was killed in an accident at a work site in the Promontory area of...

Collin Leonard, KSL.com

Man killed by falling crane at Park City job site

Police say a construction worker was killed in an accident at a work site in the Promontory area of Park City Saturday morning.

14 hours ago

Diego Luna discusses his mental health struggles during his second season as a midfielder for Real ...

Emma Benson

‘It’s very difficult’: RSL’s Diego Luna opens up about mental health struggles

Luna, a California native and Olympic hopeful, is in his second season as a midfielder for Real Salt Lake. He admits the season was off to a rocky start. Pressures on and off the field, including becoming a father, were affecting his mental state.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Evacuation notice lifted for Panguitch as crews continue stabilization efforts at dam