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I-80 reopens after new fire threatened highway, Rio Tinto smelter

Posted at 1:20 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-18 19:06:26-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — Interstate 80 was reopened once again after being shut down for a second time Friday due to wildfires burning just west of Salt Lake City.

The Lakeshore Fire, which was sparked early Friday afternoon, was 90 percent contained at 400 acres Saturday morning. It broke out near mile marker 103 on the border between Salt Lake and Tooele counties.

Utah Highway Patrol originally shut down eastbound I-80 at mile marker 99 and diverted traffic to SR-201 eastbound. All lanes of traffic were reopened at around 3:45 p.m.

A new, separate wildfire started later in the evening, which was named the Cypress Fire. It was also burning near I-80 near the previous fire.

READ: How to help avoid fires during red flag warnings

UHP then closed the freeway in both directions due to the Cypress Fire. There were intermittent closures throughout the night. State Route 201/202 was also closed due to the fire and a downed utility line.

I-80 was reopened around 3 a.m. Saturday, but SR-201 remained closed for power line repairs.

As of Saturday afternoon, the Cypress Fire was 85 percent contained at 236 acres. Officials said it was threatening the Rio Tinto smelter at one point.

Raw video below shows Lakeshore Fire burning near I-80

I-80 fire

The Great Salt Lake State Park and Marina were closed due to the fires.

On a hot and windy day across Utah, another brush fire, the Barneys Wash Fire, was burning about 40 acres near the Copperton Mine on Rio Tinto Kennecott property.

"Our emergency response teams have been mobilized as well as firemen from the Unified Fire Authority and local police," said Simon Letendre with Rio Tinto. "There are no current threats to people and the cause of the fires remains unknown at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation until the fires are extinguished and the sites secured."

FOX 13 News crews on the scene of the Barneys Wash Fire said it was completely out. As the fire was burning along a power line area, crews were at the scene to make sure power was not lost.

Because of erratic winds, fire crews have been unable to fly to assist in putting out flames at either the Lakeshore or Barney Wash fires.

Video below shows the Barney Wash Fire under control near the Copperton Mine

Copperton Fire

At around 3 p.m. Friday, a fire broke out in the Bluffdale area. Video from Utah Department of Transportation cameras showed smoke blowing across southbound lanes of Interstate 15 at 15200 South. The right shoulder of the highway was closed, but traffic was not affected.

In Davis County, both directions of the Legacy Parkway were closed to all traffic for a short period of time because of a brush fire just north of Parrish Lane. Traffic was reopened at around 1:15 p.m.

The causes of the fires mentioned above are currently unknown.

WATCH: Roof of Davis County potato chip factory catches fire

Earlier Friday, parts of 7200 West near SR-201 were closed for a short period of time after power lines came down and started a fire.

Two left lanes were closed on northbound Interstate 15 after a truck hauling paper and plastic sparked a grass fire after rolling over as it was on the ramp to westbound Interstate 80. The driver was injured in the accident and transported to the hospital.