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Rain Brings Outages, Flood Fears

September 1, 2008

By Aaron Falk Deseret News

A summer rainstorm accompanied by high winds darkened thousands of homes around the state Sunday and prompted flood concerns along a part of the east bench area in Draper that was recently blackened and stripped by a wildfire.

Residents in Draper received reverse 911 calls, alerting homeowners of a possible evacuation order as rain bore down on Corner Canyon early Sunday evening. No homes had been evacuated by press time, however.

Last week, several neighborhoods were evacuated when a wildfire threatened about 60 homes in the area. With the ground freshly scarred by the flames, officials worried about possible mudslides and flooding Sunday.

“We’re just kind of waiting and watching,” Draper spokeswoman Maridene Hancock said Sunday night. “It’s still raining, and we have staff on the mountain monitoring the situation.”

Earlier last week, the city gave residents about 15,000 sandbags to help protect their homes.

Meanwhile, Rocky Mountain Power crews scrambled to restore electricity to more than 26,000 homes and businesses after high winds felled trees and downed power lines, spokesman Jeff Hymas said.

“As we’ve restored power to some customers, we’ve had problems in other areas,” he said Sunday. “We’ve made some progress, but crews will continue working into the night.”

At one point, more than 11,000 homes in both the Ogden and Salt Lake areas were without power, and the lights were not expected to come on in some homes until sometime this morning, Hymas said.

Residents in Clinton, Layton, Smithfield, Tremonton, Tooele and American Fork were also affected by the outages, Hymas said.

Near Moab, firefighters battling the 3,400-acre Porcupine Ranch fire welcomed the rainfall. The fire was 85 percent contained Sunday and more than 200 firefighters were expected to be taken off the fire lines today, said Jason Curry with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

“The rain came through today, and the fire lay down quite a bit,” he said.

A second wildfire burning near Toquerville was expected to be contained just after midnight Sunday.

The Toquerville Falls fire started Saturday and burned 154 acres, according to a statement from the Bureau of Land Management. Officials believe the fire was human-caused, but exactly what sparked the blaze is still under investigation.

E-mail: afalk@desnews.com

(c) 2008 Deseret News (Salt Lake City). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.




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