Dark smoke billowing above Wahweap Marina caught the eye of residents and visitors on Lake Powell and in the Page area on Friday June 2, 2023. By the time the fire was extinguished, at least a half dozen houseboats and other vessels were either destroyed or severely damaged. The docks and slips were also damaged. Smoke could be seen as far away as eastern Kane county.
According to Glen Canyon NRA, at 1:23 p.m., there was a report of a vessel fire at the Wahweap Marina, located on Lake Powell. The vessel to first catch fire was moored on B dock near the Latitude 37 Restaurant. First responders arrived on scene from the National Park Service, Big Water Fire Department, Page Fire Department, Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, Kane County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Arizona Game and Fish Department, and Arizona Department of Public Safety.
The fire spread to several other vessels. One of the vessels that was on fire was pushed out of its boat slip and floated into the marina. It was stopped by the breakwater which then caught fire, resulting in fire in two locations. There were no fatalities. Two people were evaluated on site for smoke inhalation by Kane County EMS personnel and released.
According to several news sources, Robert Wilkes, owner of a local houseboat management company, and a trained firefighter, was the first person to respond. He used a garden hose and worked with park rangers to help put out the fire. “I started pulling boats off the dock trying to create a gap so it didn’t act like a tree line,” he said. Mr. Wilkes actions prevented a larger catastrophe.
Park rangers previously responded to houseboat fires several times in recent years, including in 2022, 2015 and 2011. According to local witnesses, there was a recent houseboat fire at Antelope Point Marina as well that didn’t spread.
Due to fire damage at the Wahweap Marina, the NPS advises extreme caution. Impacted areas are closed to the public. According to Glen Canyon NRA, staff are assessing which sections of the dock were not compromised by the fire and will advise when boat slips are cleared for safe harbor. The area where the fire occurred will remain closed until cleared by fire investigators.
The incident is currently under investigation by the National Park Service. No further information is available at this time.
Investigators are seeking any photos or videos taken by the public during that time frame. To submit photos or videos, upload them to: nps.us.evidence.com/axon/community-request/public/wahweap_marina_fire.