Tourists Evacuated, Cars Washed Away as ‘Severe’ Flash Floods Hit Utah National Park

Rescue crews in Utah helped tourists and rangers to safety after flash floods on Thursday trapped them at Capitol Reef National Park, according to officials.

In a press release, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) announced that active flooding was reported in Grand Wash at 12:18 p.m., and some of the park rangers attempting to rescue stranded visitors ended up getting trapped themselves during the flooding.

“There was active flooding … park rangers were on scene getting people out of the wash, [and] while doing so some of the park rangers got stranded in the flood but were able to get to high ground,” the sheriff’s office reported.

The only injuries reported were minor cuts and lacerations, the park service said.

A dispatch center in Richfield, Sevier County, was asked to contact the Department of Public Safety (DPS), urging them to assist with airlifting people to safety, stating that an “excessive number of visitors” were present at the park, while also describing the floods as “severe.”

A DPS helicopter was dispatched to the area and was able to rescue people who were stranded there, the WCSO said. A jet fuel trailer also arrived from a nearby town to help the DPS with refueling.

“They were able to hoist them out and brought them to a parking area,” officials said. “There were approximately 60 people in that parking lot that almost had to spend the night, however, the park rangers worked diligently to clear the roads, making them passible.”

The Utah Department of Transportation jointly determined with the WCSO which roads would be closed in the area during the flash flooding, Kassidee Brown, a spokeswoman in Wayne County, told KTL.

Members of the park service arranged lodging in nearby motels for people stranded due to the flooding.

“Park rangers were able to find lodging and are shuttling people out of the parking area to the surrounding motels,” the sheriff’s office said, adding that there are about seven to eight “disabled vehicles in the flood areas.”

“[Officials] will work to get them out conditions permitting,” the release concluded.

NTD Photo
In this handout photo provided by the National Park Service, tree logs pile up on a washed-out bridge as water levels rise near Rescue Creek in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo., on June 13, 2022. (National Park Service via Getty Images)

Earlier this month, massive floodwaters ravaged Yellowstone National Park and nearby communities, washing out roads and bridges, cutting off electricity, and forcing visitors to evacuate parts of the iconic park at the height of summer tourist season.

Yellowstone officials said more than 10,000 visitors were ordered out of the nation’s oldest national park, The Associated Press reported.

On Wednesday, the park partially reopened for the first time since catastrophic flooding destroyed bridges and roads and drove out thousands of tourists.