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Marysvale residents recount the impact of the Silver King fire

Jul 9, 2024, 4:54 PM | Updated: Jul 10, 2024, 7:42 am

MARYSVALE, Piute County — A once beautiful mountainside is completely torched, as the Silver King Fire in central Utah continues to burn out of control.

The fire which started on Friday from a lightning strike has torched more than 11,000 acres and was at 0% containment, according to a Tuesday afternoon update from Utah Fire Info.

The small town of Marysvale dates back to the 1880s and was, at one time, a popular mining town. It’s considered a hidden gem with a population of just over 400 people.

“Marysvale is the prettiest town in the state,” said long-time resident Wayne James, a dairy farmer. “I’ve seen a lot.” James was the mayor, a city council member, and even worked in the mines at one point.

In its heyday, Marysvale was a booming mining town with thousands of residents. That history is what makes it so tough to see this mountainside go up in smoke.

“That’s a lot of history that is going to be lost (if the fire destroys it),” said James.

So far fire officials tell KSL TV that no structures have been lost. But the smokey and blackened hillside brings resident Gayle Van Ryte to tears.

“Sad, very sad. This was the most beautiful place in the world to look at,” said Van Ryte. “I love this place.”

The worry now is the very hot, dry, and windy conditions, causing a red flag warning to be in effect until 9 p.m. Tuesday.

“With (the red flag warning), we are going to have elevated temperatures, higher wind conditions up on the ridgeline reaching down into the valleys,” said Kevin Abel, the Silver King Fire spokesperson. “There is some pretty steep and rugged terrain where we are trying to use the terrain to our advantage to be able to cut that fire off and ensure the safety of the firefighters and make sure they are not in a situation they can’t get out of.”

For James and his family, all they can do is watch and wait.

“We feel really bad because it’s the biggest fire I’ve seen in my lifetime on these mountains,” said James.

Officials in Piute County shared that donations* have been set up at any branch of the State Bank of Southern Utah. Any donations to that account can be made by simply calling a branch and speaking with tellers.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Marysvale residents recount the impact of the Silver King fire