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Brush fires east of Kanab prompt major emergency response, shut down power and traffic

A fire started east of Kanab on Highway 89 on Monday, June 3, and spread quickly, crossing the highway and severely damaging some of the electrical lines in the area. Per a release from Kane County Emergency Services, the fire started around 1:20 p.m. as a result of a malfunctioning vehicle and burned over a mile on either side of the highway.

Garkane crews worked tirelessly to restore power after dry, windy conditions allowed the brushfire to spread quickly. Photos courtesy of Garkane Energy and Kane County Emergency Response.

While the fire was headed toward some residences, it was contained before any structures were threatened and no injuries were reported as a result of the fires. Several fire poles were severely compromised by the fire - some to the point of collapse - and per policy, Garkane shut down power along the high voltage lines preemptively. Per a statement from Garkane’s Neal Brown, “A little after 2 p.m. on June 3, Garkane received notice from the dispatch center to shut power off to the transmission line that feeds Kane County and northern Arizona due to a threat of fire. Garkane disconnected power, but shortly got notice that the fire burned multiple power line structures. Crews had to wait until they were allowed into the area to start repairing the damaged poles.”

The power was out for a few hours after the fire started, with Garkane crews moving in to replace the poles after the situation was deemed safe by emergency responders; per Brown, “The linemen worked quickly and safely and were able to get power restored at approximately 8:40 p.m. with the outage affecting over 6,000 members and lasting a little over six hours.

“We thank our crews for working safely and quickly to restore power. Garkane would also like to thank the public for their continued support and patience during these dry fire seasons. Going forward, fires will directly affect Garkane Energy and its members as cutting power during fire season may become more regular and utilities are required to turn power off due to fire restrictions.”

Traffic was closed during the start of emergency response, and Highway Patrol, with the aid of other local law enforcement, began shuttling vehicles through the fire scene during fire control operations. Traffic was opened later in the afternoon, following electrical crews being allowed through to begin restoring power.

According to the emergency service report, the scene was still declared active as of the evening of Monday, June 3, with fire response crews combating hot spots and new flare-ups.




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