Parleys Canyon Fire Update - Monday August 16, 2021
5:45 p.m. - Utah Wildfire Info says the fire is now 21% contained.
3:00 p.m. - The Summit County Sheriff's office announced that the evacuation order has been lifted in Lower Pinebrook - but extended elsewhere.
The evacuation order has been extended in Upper Pinebrook until Wednesday the 18th at 8p.m., and extended in Summit Park and Timberline until Thursday at 8 p.m. That's due to a red flag weather warning that was issued this afternoon ahead of a storm Tuesday that could bring high winds, possibly impeding firefighting efforts or spreading the fire.
Lt. Andrew Wright of the Summit County Sheriff's office said evacuation orders could change as weather changes and as firefighting efforts continue.
This map shows the portion of Lower Pinebrook where residents may now reutrn home:
9:30 a.m. - Fire crews are back on the scene of the Parley’s Canyon fire, located off Interstate 80 around the Lamb’s Canyon area. As of last night the fire was 10 percent contained, with 539 acres of brush and trees burned.
Evacuation orders put in place Saturday afternoon remained in effect, but firefighters are hoping for progress with forecasts of rain later this week.
The area has been burning since Saturday afternoon, when a faulty catalytic converter reportedly ignited brush near the Interstate between Lamb’s Canyon and Summit Park.
Jessie Bender, Public Information Officer for the Type 2 Incident Management Team, said that on Sunday, crews made dozens of air drops of water and fire retardant along fire lines.
She said firefighters are dealing with a variety of terrain. Bender added that different types of vegetation can also affect the difficulty of fighting the fire.
“Again, it’s different near the Interstate than it is higher up on the hill, where there’s more timber," she said. "And down lower by the Interstate, it’s mostly grass and brush. And so that adds complexity too, to have the shifting fuel types. The good news about it is that there’s less timber. And that’s one of the reasons why we’ve had so much success, not necessarily with containment figures right now, but in general with limiting the spread of the fire, because it’s easier to suppress in that light grass and sage and brush than it is in the timber.”
She said that on Monday, fire crews are concentrating along the Interstate, and working west and east from there. Bender said in particular they’re working to the east, the area closer to private properties and the Summit Park neighborhood.
To date, no structures have been burned and no injuries have been reported.
More than 5000 households in Summit Park, Timberline and Pinebrook are under a mandatory evacuation order, primarily to keep people safe and far from the toxic chemicals being dropped by air as fire retardant.
Summit County Sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Wright said about two dozen residents have refused to leave their homes, telling deputies they didn’t see a reason to leave but would do so if they saw fire approaching. Wright said the other primary function of evacuating neighborhoods is to ensure that roadways are clear for emergency vehicles and traffic doesn’t impede efforts to fight the fire.
Those defying evacuation orders have been instructed to stay indoors to avoid health issues, or even death, from drops of fire retardant.
The evacuation order will stay in place through at least Tuesday morning. Bender said the first word of any change will come from the Summit County Sheriff.
Also, Rocky Mountain Power is working to restore electricity at Summit Park.
The weather Monday is expected to be, again, hot, dry and smoky. Bender reported the good news is that a cold front is expected to arrive late Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and could result in up to an inch of rain.
That’s a mixed blessing, though, because gusty winds will be expected with the cold front.
“While it doesn’t sound like this will be a heavy lightning storm, any time we have wind, that’s a concern," Bender said. "So we’re hoping to make as much progress today, before those winds get here, as possible, to help minimize the potential impact of those winds.”
She also said that rainfall on a fire-ravaged area could result in mudslides.
On I-80, the right lane of east-bound traffic is closed to protect fire crews nearby. Westbound traffic is unaffected.
Jordanelle Reservoir will remain closed as long as water scoopers are using it. Rocky Mountain Power is working to return power to Summit Park.
For updated information: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ and search Parleys Fire.