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AM News Brief: Wildfires Force Evacuations, Colorado Vaccine Development & Utah Jazz Schedule

Photo of Vivin Smarthome Arena.
LHM Sports and Entertainment, Vivint
The Utah Jazz have announced their "new" revised season schedule. This and more in the Monday morning news brief.

Monday morning, June 29, 2020


Wildfires Erupt Over The Weekend

Three significant wildfires erupted this weekend in Utah, fueled by dry, windy conditions. The Knolls Fire started near Saratoga Springs Sunday. Blustery and erratic winds pushed it quickly to 2,000 acres and an estimated 3,100 homes evacuated. Some residents were given the okay to return home while other neighborhoods remain in a red zone with closed roads and homeowners barred from entering. As of Monday morning, it was 25% contained.

The Traverse Fire in Utah County started just after midnight on Sunday morning. It’s burned 450 acres and forced evacuations in Draper and Lehi that have since been lifted. The fire is now 26% contained.

The Canal Fire started just 15 minutes later in Millard County. As of Monday morning it was at 50,000 acres and was 0% contained. — Sonja Hutson and Diane Maggipinto

Follow KUER’s coverage of Utah’s 2020 Fire Season.

Utah’s COVID-19 Weekend Update

The state department of health reported more than a thousand new COVID-19 cases in Utah over the weekend. That follows a record high for new daily cases last Friday. On both Saturday and Sunday, Utah’s positivity rate for people who were tested sat at 6.4%. Health officials like to keep that number under 5%. The state announced one new death over the weekend, bringing the total to 167. The woman was over the age of 85 and hospitalized at the time of her death. So far, more than 328,000 people have been tested. — Ross Terrell

Utah Hospital Capacity

Utah set a record high of new COVID-19 cases last Friday. And over the weekend, another 1,050 were reported. According to the Utah Department of Health’s website, more than 66% of ICU beds are occupied. Now, Intermountain Healthcare and the University of Utah Health are finding ways to create more beds. Read the full story. — Jessica Lowell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Northern Utah

Jazz Announce Schedule

The Utah Jazz have announced their “new” revised season schedule. They’ll restart their season July 30 in Orlando against the New Orleans Pelicans and play a total of eight games before the playoffs start. But no fans will be allowed at the games. It’ll be the team’s first game since the NBA suspended its season in early March after Jazz Center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. His teammate Donovan Mitchell tested positive shortly after. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Zion To Restart Shuttle Service Wednesday

Zion National Park plans to reintroduce a modified shuttle service on Wednesday. Since reopening in mid-May, Zion rangers have limited people entering to only the 400 parking spots available on the Scenic Drive. According to park spokesperson Jeff Axel, restarting the shuttle service will hopefully allow more people to visit Zion. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery


Diné Pride Events Wrap Up

A group of trans Native American activists participated in a panel Friday night, as part of Pride celebrations on the Navajo — or Diné — Nation. They discussed the intersections of their gender and ethnic identities, and what activism means to them. Diné Pride events ended Saturday night with a closing ceremony and drag show. — Sonja Hutson

Colorado Researchers Pursuing COVID Vaccine

A potential vaccine against COVID-19 is progressing in Colorado. Researchers with Colorado State University say studies in hamsters so far indicate it’s successful on two fronts: it causes the animals to mount an immune response, and it appears to protect them from the disease. In total, about 200 vaccines are in development. Some are already being tested in people. — Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau

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