Red flag conditions Friday afternoon — warm temperatures, very low humidities, and strong winds — helped multiple fires near I-80 and state Route 201 spread and cause road and lane closures.
The first fire, now named the Lakeshore Fire, started at 12:19 p.m. on June 17. It was located east of state Route 36 and Clinton Landing Road in the area of the railroad tracks and Kennecott Road. It burned 100 acres and is now fully under control, according to Utah Wildfire Fire Info.
A total of 40 power poles were burned as a result of the Lakeshore Fire, along with a quarter mile of railroad track, according to Jon Smith, public information officer at the North Tooele Fire
No structures were at risk.
A second fire, named the Cypress Fire, north of where SR-201 joins I-80, started around 5:42 p.m. on June 17. The fire has burned around 286 acres. It was 85% under control as of 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 21.
A third fire, called the Lone Fire, was located in close proximity to the other two fires. By 4:30 p.m. on Friday, June 17 the Lone Fire burned into and was incorporated by the Lakeshore Fire.
All together, the three fires burned a total of 800 acres.
The official cause of fires is under investigation is unknown, but low humidity and high winds contributed to their spread.
“This is a great reminder of how fast fire can impact our lives and why we need to take our environmental situation seriously,” Smith said.
The North Tooele Fire District worked with Grantsville, Syracuse, West Valley, and Salt Lake City Fire Departments, Unified Fire Authority, and the Bureau of Land Management, and Utah Forestry to fight the fires.
The fires caused I-80 and SR-201 closures on June 17 and the Division of Natural Resources announced that the Great Salt Lake State Park and Marina was temporarily closed.
There were road and lane closures off and on distributed throughout Friday that caused long delays for travel in and out of the county.
At 12:43 a.m. Saturday, June 18 UDOT tweeted that the fire affecting roadway was cleared and I-80 was open east and west bound.
Another fire at 3:40 p.m. on Sunday, June 19 closed I-80 at 5600 west in both directions until around 5:20 p.m., according to the Utah Highway Patrol.
The North Tooele Fire Department wants to remind citizens to be fire aware, make sure they aren’t dragging chains behind vehicles, to not use any fireworks, and not to light fires near dry grass.
“Make sure you put out your campfires with both water and sand,” Smith reminded residents.