SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City firefighters are slowly putting out a large grass fire that jumped I-80 and temporarily closed the highway.
Division Chief Ryan Mellor says it started before 10:00 a.m. near a rail yard off 5600 West. The dry, windy weather pushed it down along the eastbound lanes towards Wright Brothers Drive.
“It dries out the moisture, which makes [the grass] more susceptible to fire, and wind doesn’t usually move in a straight line. It swirls, so directions can change in a heartbeat,” Mellor said.
That change in direction caused sparks to jump the highway, setting the grass on fire along the westbound lanes.
The smoke was so thick from the fire, I-80 was shut down in both directions until it cleared, with drivers diverted from Tooele County at SR-201 to avoid the backup.
Flareups have been happening all afternoon, including in a nearby pile of hay.
What caused the fire is under investigation.
A later fire in the median east of the airport appeared to be unrelated.
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