Parleys Canyon Fire forces thousands to evacuate in Summit County

Up to 8,000 homes are threatened as the fire remains uncontained heading into the night

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Pilots make drops as the Parleys Canyon Fire burns on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.

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A fast moving blaze sparked off of Interstate 80 in Parleys Canyon has forced the evacuation of the Summit Park, Pinebrook, Lambs Canyon and upper Mill Creek Canyon areas. At least 6-8,000 homes are threatened by the Parleys Canyon Fire, which encompasses over 2,000 acres and continues to grow in the mountains between Salt Lake and Summit counties.

At 8 p.m., a tweet from the Region 8 Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal funds have been authorized to help with firefighting costs for the Parleys Canyon Fire, which at the time of the request, was “threatening between six and eight thousand homes and approximately 10,000 people are under mandatory evacuations,” and had burned more than 2,500 acres since it started this afternoon.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Two planes and helicopter work on the fire in Parleys Canyon, on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.

The progression of the wildfire “has slowed,” according to Jennifer Hansen with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. By 9 p.m., there was still no containment, she said, with a more accurate GPS acreage of the fire expected tomorrow.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Crews fight the Parleys Canyon Fire on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.

Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez pleaded with residents to leave the area as soon as possible. “To the residents who are refusing to evacuate for the #ParleysCanyonFire - you are hampering efforts and are putting first responders in danger. PLEASE evacuate immediately!” Martinez said on Twitter. A shelter has been set up at Park City High School for Summit Park evacuees.

Authorities sent an emergency alert asking residents of Lambs Canyon to “leave now,” take only essential items and make sure their windows and doors are closed. They also asked residents to try to minimize phone usage so the network can be used for emergencies.

To the south of the fire, upper Mill Creek Canyon down to the winter gate is being closed and evacuated due to protect hikers.

According to Utah Fire Info, the fire began around 2 p.m. and “multiple ground & air resources are responding,” while the cause of the fire was linked to a faulty catalytic converter traveling up the canyon, according to Utah Fire Info. Smoke from the blaze can be seen from Salt Lake City as the fire continues to spread at “an extreme rate.”

I-80 was closed for a time, though it is now open in both directions, according to Utah Fire Info. An Indigo Girls concert at Deer Valley Resort was canceled due to the fire and impacts on Park City emergency services. An outage temporarily caused a loss of power to approximately 2,461 Rocky Mountain Power customers due to fire and smoke, according to a tweet from the company, but power was restored.

The Northern Utah Type 2 team has been ordered to combat the blaze, and included in the response are two very large airtankers, four large airtankers, six single engine airtankers, two helicopters, and air attack, along with “numerous local, state & federal ground resources.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Emergency crews respond to the Parleys Canyon Fire on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.

The Utah Fire Info website was down for a few hours this afternoon, which Kayli Yardley with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands suspected was due to a site overload of people visiting for more info on the blaze, but is now back online.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Parleys Canyon Fire burns, as seen from Emigration Canyon on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.