Flash flooding hits southern Utah national parks, closing roads

Flash flooding hit Capitol Reef National Park, leading to the rescue of many park visitors by park rangers, sheriffs and other rescue crews. Some vehicles were disabled and roads were closed due to the flooding.

Flash flooding hit Capitol Reef National Park, leading to the rescue of many park visitors by park rangers, sheriffs and other rescue crews. Some vehicles were disabled and roads were closed due to the flooding. (Richard Taggart)



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK — Flash flooding hit Capitol Reef National Park on Thursday, affecting both visitors and park rangers, Wayne County spokeswoman Kassidee Brown said.

Park rangers were able to get visitors out of the wash in Grand Wash on Thursday, Brown said. There were only minor cuts and lacerations among visitors during the flooding in Capitol Reef, the park service said.

The number of visitors to Capitol Reef at the time of the severe flooding was described as "excessive," Brown said.

The Grand Wash rescue ended up leaving some park rangers stranded, Brown said, though the rangers managed to get to high ground and out of the reach of the flash flooding.

Wayne County Sheriff Dan Jensen and Search and Rescue Commander Rustin Grundy with the sheriff's office assisted rescue crews.

An aerial search of the park allowed rescue crews to assist in getting people out of the flood and to safety, Brown said. A Department of Public Safety helicopter was used to rescue some of the park visitors.

UDOT worked with Jensen to determine which roads would be closed in the area during the flash flooding, Brown said.

Approximately 60 people waited to leave the area while park rangers worked to clear the roads, avoiding the need to turn a parking lot into temporary campsite for those people.

Park rangers located lodging in nearby motels for people stranded due to the flooding.

As conditions improve, park rangers will be working to remove seven or eight vehicles that were disabled Thursday.

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Matt Brooks is a web producer with KSL.com. He previously worked for KSL NewsRadio.

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