The fire raging in Wasatch County on Saturday sparked Park City's emergency operations into action.
As smoke billowed into the Park City air from the Fox Bay along the perimeter of the Jordanelle Reservoir on Saturday, Park City officials were monitoring the situation. City Hall quickly launched its emergency operations, an extraordinarily rare occurrence in Park City.
One of the key moves by City Hall on Saturday was opening the Park City Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center as an evacuation center. The Park Meadows facility had earlier been designated as a place that could house evacuees during an emergency like a wildfire or an earthquake.
The American Red Cross responded to the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center in the evening hours, setting up what is known as a reception center. The American Red Cross operates a reception center when people might be displaced temporarily, such as for a night.
The supplies arrived on a truck, and a sign designating the location as a disaster relief center was posted on the door. The American Red Cross moved a desk into place and manned it as a check-in station.
Ken Fisher, who manages City Hall's recreation programs and oversees the Municipal Athletic & Recreation center, was called to the building. Police officers stopped by occasionally to monitor the situation.
Fisher could be seen through a window using a magic marker and a whiteboard to compile a list of staffers who were available to assist at the facility and the times they could work. He helped unload the crates of bottled water as well.
Ryan Davies, a Provo-based spokesman for the American Red Cross, said the organization brought food, water and cots to the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center. The American Red Cross operation at the facility was similar in fashion to one that the group opened at an elementary school in Heber in response to the fire. The one in Heber was busier than the one in Park Meadows, though.
The operation in the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center lasted into Sunday morning. Nobody dislocated by the fire stayed for the night.
Phillip Boushy, who lives in a condominium in Fox Bay along the Jordanelle Reservoir, went to the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center that evening. He said he was driving home from a rafting trip in Jackson, Wyo., and saw smoke from Interstate 80 in the East Side of Summit County. His condominium was among those under the evacuation order.
Boushy said he attempted to reach his home but was stopped by the police before Fox Bay. He briefly went to his office at Kimball Junction before learning that the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center was open as an evacuation center.
"You could see the pillar of smoke down by the reservoir," he said.
The Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center was prepared for the possibility that people staying at the St. Regis Deer Valley would be brought to the facility. The hotel, situated in Deer Crest, was evacuated as a precaution.
The evacuation lasted approximately one hour between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., a hotel spokesperson said. The St. Regis arranged comparable accommodations elsewhere for the guests. Most of them returned to the St. Regis once the evacuation was lifted, the spokesperson said. The number of people who needed to leave the St. Regis was not available. None of them went to the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center.
It was the first time an evacuation center was opened in the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center, something the building was designed for when it was renovated in 2011. Hugh Daniels, City Hall's emergency manager, said officials intend to draft a report outlining the operation during the Wasatch County fire. It will be released publicly and is expected to be ready within the next month, Daniels said.
Fisher, the official who oversees the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center, indicated Boushy was the only person to arrive at the facility. Recreation staffers manned the building in shifts from 7 p.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday, Fisher said. He said a neighbor stopped at the building volunteering to house people in their home and offering to run errands if they were needed.