Federal investigators were joining Utah authorities Friday to determine the cause of a fire in a remote area of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area that destroyed as many as 20 boats.
The fire at Halls Crossing Marina broke out late Thursday night. Firefighters were able to save 130 of the 150 or so vessels moored at the marina.
At least three vessels were known to have sunk, Glen Canyon Superintendent Stan Austin said. As of midday Friday, no casualties were reported, but fire investigators were still checking the burned area.
The Glen Canyon dispatch center first received a 911 call at 11:23 p.m. Thursday, reporting flames coming from the covered slips at Halls Crossing Marina. National Park Service rangers and concession employees quickly responded to the fire from both land and water.
Because of the small number of staff present this time of year, additional NPS personnel were flown in from other areas, including from Natural Bridges National Monument aboard a Park Service aircraft from the park headquarters in Page, Arizona, to help battle the fire. Fire personnel used the Park Service fire boat both to fight the fire and to tow burning vessels from their slips .
Other burning vessels were cut loose and pushed away from the slips by firefighters on the docks. The fire was controlled at 3:08 a.m. No NPS or concession vessels are known to be damaged at this time.
“We are saddened by the loss of the boats and other facilities. But we commend our Park Service staff and everyone else who responded so quickly to this emergency for saving so many other vessels,” Superintendent Austin said. “People don’t realize the challenges our staff face in a remote area like Halls Crossing, which is a two-hour drive from Blanding, Utah and nearly five hours from park headquarters in Page. Without the dedication and expertise of our fire responders, this fire would have been even more devastating.”
Although there was extensive damage to the marina facilities, no firefighters were injured. Park Service investigators, along with investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Utah State Fire Marshal’s office, were en route to the scene Friday.