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ATV community still riding in popular central Utah area despite nearby wildfire

Posted at 10:28 PM, Jul 08, 2024

PIUTE COUNTY, Utah — The town of Marysvale is best known for its great trail system — which is why Joe Alonge has been going there for summer ATV riding since 2006. This year marks his 10th year straight.

"Last year when I was here, I put 17,050 miles on my side-by-side. That's more miles than most people put on in a year," Alonge said.

This year's trip has looked a little different the past few days since the Silver King Fire broke out last week.

"When they told us they might have to have us evacuate or whatever, we were thinking of going down to Circleville or something like that because we paid to stay here till September 3," Alonge explained. "If the city didn't totally burn down, we would've come back, but we've stayed here and we're not having any problem at all."

Milo Medley's sons own Piute ATV rental in Marysvale. So far they say the fire hasn't impacted business too much.

"I think there was maybe two or three people that left because of the smoke from the fire, and we had a few cancellations. People called in being concerned about the fire so they cancelled their reservation, but I don't think there's been very many," Medley said.

Medley says at least part of his favorite trail has been burned in the fire.

"If you go back 40 years, I used to ride that trail in my Land Cruiser, so I have a lot of memories back there," Medley recalled. "It's a narrow trail and it's so pretty because you cross the creek about half a dozen times and you're down in the trees."

Medley says summer and fall are the biggest time of year for business in town, and they want people to know they're still open — only about 10 of the 1,500 miles of trails in the area are affected by the wildfire.

"The trail system and the RV parks — which there's five of them in town — are really important, I think, to the economy because it brings money into the area and that money will bounce around through different vendors, different businesses while they're here," Medley said.

Alonge and his group are set to be in Marysvale for a total of 10 weeks. They're monitoring the fire closely, but as of right now, they say they plan to finish their trip in Marysvale.

"I think the way the fire is going now with the way that wind is still blowing now, we're not going to have a problem cross our fingers," Alonge said.

Officials say crews will continue operations Tuesday. They say a little growth is expected, but there shouldn't be a large jump like they saw Saturday into Sunday. A red flag warning is in effect for the area on Tuesday.

The federal government is sending help to fight this fire. FEMA is offering to pay up to 75% of costs associated with the fire.