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I-80 back open, wildfire near SLC Airport fully contained

Posted at 3:57 PM, Jun 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 14:40:31-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Just after crews wrapped up multiple wildfires along Interstate 80 near the Great Salt Lake, another fire was sparked near the same area shut down the freeway again.

The new fire was burning along I-80 just west of the Salt Lake City International Airport. It was fully contained by 6 p.m.

Image - 2022-06-19T154719.725.jpg
A grass fire burns near I-80 and Wright Brothers Drive

Utah Highway Patrol reported at 3:40 p.m. that I-80 was closed in both directions at 5600 West. Both directions were back open by 6 p.m. as well.

The Salt Lake City Fire Department said one civilian was taken to a local hospital in minor condition due to smoke inhalation. Firefighters also found a homeless encampment in the area and helped those living there to evacuate safely.

This fire came just hours after eastbound I-80 was closed near Tooele due to a fatal motorcycle crash, only about 15 miles west of the new fire.

Strong winds, which also likely affected the fire's spread, have caused some flight delays and have even forced some to be canceled, according to a spokesperson for the Salt Lake City International Airport. They advised travelers to check with their airlines for any changes.

Raw video from the scene:

Video from scene: Wildfire shuts down I-80 near Salt Lake City Airport

“It’s been delayed maybe four times now. I’ve been sitting here since 4:30, actually. It’s around 7:30 now,” said Gustavo Lara. “I’m going to be here until nine.”

Lara said turbulence coming in to Salt Lake City was extremely uncomfortable, and that a lot of fellow passengers were sick because of it.

“It felt like we were almost going to die. Like we were all freaking out, like everyone started praying. It got really scary on the way here,” he said. “They told us that the wind was too strong to land, so we started circling around like eight times.”

At one point Sunday, 41 flights to and from the airport were canceled in a span of 24 hours. Thirty-three of those were Delta flights.

Delta Air Lines sent FOX 13 News a statement, saying, “A variety of factors continue to impact our operations, including challenges with air traffic control, weather and unscheduled absences in some work groups. Canceling a flight is always our last resort, and we sincerely apologize to our customers for the inconvenience to their travel plans.”