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Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Evacuation order continues as Parleys Canyon Fire is 10% contained

SHARE Evacuation order continues as Parleys Canyon Fire is 10% contained
SHARE Evacuation order continues as Parleys Canyon Fire is 10% contained

The Parleys Canyon Fire was 10% contained by Sunday night, after air and ground crews worked to protect more than 6,000 homes still under evacuation order.

The fire along I-80 was ignited Saturday afternoon by hot particles thrown from a vehicle's poorly working catalytic converter. Four smaller fires were ignited, which then grew to more than 619 acres. Officials plan to use an infrared flight overnight to map the fire's perimeter again and track how much it has grown.

Evacuations remained in effect for the approximately 6,000 to 8,000 homes in the area that were threatened by the blaze. And, while residents were being let into their homes for short periods throughout the day Sunday, the Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez reported aircraft was "unable to drop fire suppression materials if people are in the area."

The evacuation order could remain in place until Tuesday morning, he said, adding that, "fire officials are concerned about the east line," which borders the Summit Park and Pinebrook neighborhoods included in the evacuation order.

"As soon as they're confident they have containment we will be able to lift the evacuation orders," Martinez said. "For now, we are sticking with Tuesday morning as a timeline on (lifting) the evacuation. We hope to have good news before then.

"We are committed to doing our best to keep your homes safe while you're away," he said. "Thank you for your support and gestures of kindness during such a difficult time in our community."

Crews initially said Saturday the fire had grown to 2,500-3,000 acres, then said on Sunday that it was closer to 1,500 acres. Crews mapped the fire area more accurately on Sunday morning and found that the blaze has covered about 619 acres.

So far, no structures have been lost to the fire, authorities said, adding that up to 200 firefighting personnel, including aircraft and ground crews, worked to suppress the fire.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said there have been fewer human-caused wildfires than normal in Utah so far this season, so firefighting crews have been able to help with fires in other states. Now, several crews were headed back to Utah to help fight the Parleys Canyon Fire, he added.

In addition to the communities Summit Park and Pinebrook, the Timberline subdivision was also evacuated Saturday. Nearby Lambs Canyon and Millcreek Canyon were also evacuated.

Eight thousand people were evacuated Saturday, and only one person required shelter overnight, according to Cox.

"Thank you for taking care of each other," he said.

Businesses in the lower Pinebrook area were allowed to open Sunday to provide services for residents.

Jordanelle State Park will remain closed through Monday, giving firefighters access to the water from the reservoir to continue fighting the fire, according to the Utah Department of Natural Resources. Little Dell Reservoir was also being used for its water resources.

Fire officials reported that due to the current surge in COVID-19 cases, they are unable to accept food donations for the firefighters. If able and willing, monetary donations to Red Cross or to a local nonprofit would be appreciated, they said.