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AM News Brief: More Fire Restrictions, Lori Daybell Committed & Eyeing The Winter Olympics

Moab Pack Creek Fire Utah Fire Info Twitter.jpeg
Utah Fire Info
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Twitter
The Pack Creek Fire in Moab. Utah is now entering Stage 1 fire restrictions because of extreme danger from the statewide drought. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, June 10, 2021

State

More Fire Restrictions

Utah is now entering Stage 1 fire restrictions because of extreme danger from the statewide drought. That means open flames are limited to established pits, and smoking and use of machinery near dry vegetation are not allowed. These rules are for all state and unincorporated lands, and go into effect Thursday at midnight. This is the earliest stage one restrictions have been put in place in several years, according to state officials. Fireworks are not permitted until the Fourth of July holiday. Even then, they will be prohibited on all state and unincorporated lands following a ban announced by Gov. Spencer Cox on Tuesday. Fireworks are never permitted on public lands or in national parks.. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Cox Appoints New Olympic Advisor

Gov. Spencer Cox has appointed Steve Starks as the new Olympic and Paralympic advisor for the state. In a press release, the Office of the Governor said Starks will act as a liaison with the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. Among his previous roles, Starks was president of the Utah Jazz. The committee aims to bring the Winter Olympics back to Salt Lake City as early as 2030. — Pamela McCall

Northern Utah

Checking In With Salt Lake City’s Homeless Director

Former Salt Lake City Councilmember Andrew Johnston has been in his new role as the city’s director of homelessness policy for about a month. To make progress on homelessness, Johnston said the city needs — unsurprisingly — more affordable housing. One of the problems, he said, is funding. He serves on Utah’s Commission on Housing Affordability and said there’s private and federal money for housing that’s in play this year that could “launch” efforts to combat homelessness in a “positive direction.” As for immediate needs in Salt Lake City, the winter overflow shelters will be closing in June. Johnston said they’re trying to find homes or other shelter for more than 200 people who were staying at the winter facilities. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Region/Nation

Lori Daybell Committed To Mental Health Facility

A woman charged with conspiring with her new husband to kill her two children has been committed to a mental health facility. An Idaho judge signed the mental commitment order for Lori Vallow Daybell Tuesday. Less than 24 hours later, her husband Chad Daybell pleaded not guilty to the crimes. The bodies of the two children were found buried in Chad Daybell's yard. Seven-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan had been at the center of a grim saga involving bizarre doomsday beliefs and a months-long search. — Associated Press

Vaccine Hesitancy Continues

Vaccine hesitancy remains a key concern in the Mountain West. Nationwide, 42% of people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In Utah, nearly 40% are fully vaccinated, and New Mexico and Colorado are a few points ahead of that. Other states in our region sit in the 30% range. Health experts say roughly twice that number must be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau