U.S. Route 6 reopens, but drivers impede firefighters

Speeding cars, illegal passing force crews alongside road to stop working.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Firefighters and utility workers climb up the hill to check out the power poles, near the area where the Bear Fire burns in the mountains northwest of Helper on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. As of Friday, June 11, 2021, the blaze had topped 8,000 acres and was considered 5% contained.

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After U.S. Route 6 reopened Friday evening near Utah’s Bear Fire, some dangerous driving forced the firefighters working along the road to stop.

Firefighters were already dealing with falling rocks from cliffs close to the highway, according to Utah Fire Info, which tweeted a photo of one large rock that landed on the road earlier in the day.

The occupational hazards of firefighting increased Friday night when U.S.-6 reopened. Crews had to be pulled off of the fire for the night because of reports of drivers speeding and illegally passing, according to Utah Fire Info.

The Bear Fire, which was over 8,000 acres and at 5% containment as of the most recent update, is one of a number of active blazes in the state. Dry, hot weather has led to unseasonably bad fire conditions this year.

The Pack Creek Fire near Moab was at 4,944 acres and 0% containment on Friday, according to Utah Fire Info. Three structures were lost and the Warner Lake Campground, Oowah Lake Campground and community of Pack Creek were evacuated. The fire was started by an unattended campsite, according to Utah Fire Info. The Bennion Creek Fire, which lead to evacuations on Thursday in Aspen Cove, was 10% contained and at 5,000 acres according to Utah Fire Info’s tracker on Friday night.

A new fire named the Broad Canyon Fire started Friday in Utah County. It had burned about 100 acres on Friday evening, and its cause was under investigation.