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PM News Brief: Wildfire Preparedness, Utah Transit Authority Oversight & COVID-19 Uptick

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KUER File Photo
Utah’s Transit Authority will no longer be monitored by the federal government. This story and more in Monday evening's news brief.

Monday evening, June 21, 2021

State

Utah Seeing An Uptick In COVID-19 Cases

Utah is experiencing a slight increase in new COVID-19 cases and test positivity rates. That’s according to data from the state’s Department of Health. The week-long average for new daily cases is currently 293. The positivity rate is now 5.5%. Both of those numbers are up from a week ago. More than 60% of eligible Utahns have now received at least one vaccine dose and slightly more than half are now fully vaccinated. — Caroline Ballard

Utah Transit Authority Ends Monitoring From Federal Government

Utah’s Transit Authority will no longer be monitored by the federal government. In 2017, the transit authority and Utah’s U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed to the oversight. Before that, UTA had been under investigation for things like its service operations, use of federal funds and grant applications. As a result, it had an independent law firm look over how it conducted business. In a letter Monday, the attorney’s office said it was pleased with the results of the monitoring and UTA’s commitment to “doing things right.” — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Plane Crash In Tooele County Kills Two And Starts Wildfire

A small plane crash in Tooele County killed two people and sparked a wildfire. The crash happened Thursday night. A small plane went down southwest of Salt Lake City, near Rush Valley. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the crash. The identities of the deceased were not immediately released. According to Utah Fire Info, the Morgan Canyon Fire has burned 157 acres in mostly steep and rugged terrain. — Associated Press

Recreating Responsibly At Utah’s Reservoirs

At least four people have drowned in Utah reservoirs in the last week. Now, state and local officials are urging people to be cautious when they’re out recreating this summer. Three of those deaths were at Deer Creek Reservoir since June 17. None of them were wearing life jackets. There was also a close call at Jordanelle over the weekend. State law requires everyone to have a life vest within reach out on the water. Devan Chavez, with the state’s Division of Parks and Recreation, said they all seem to be “unfortunate accidents.” He said it may sound simple, but wearing life jackets saves lives. Read the full story.Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/Nation

People Overestimating Wildfire Preparedness

New research from the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado Boulder shows how mountain community residents can underestimate wildfire risk, and over underestimate their preparedness. In the Colorado town of Bailey, 22% of survey respondents rated their property as high-risk, while professional wildfire assessments showed a rate of 61%. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau