Estimated reading time: 1-2 minutes
LAKE POWELL — More than six houseboats caught fire at a popular boating playground on the Utah-Arizona line on Friday, catching fire as tourists and jet skiers waited for it to be extinguished.
Observer video showed the decks of boats moored at Wahweap Marina on Lake Powell were smoldering and black smoke wafted over the red rock walls that formed the lake and its surroundings.
Skylight Houseboat Management owner Robert Wilkes said the fire broke out in the early afternoon and spread for about an hour and a half. Wilkes, a trained firefighter, said he used a garden hose and worked with park rangers to arrive shortly after the boat ignited.
“I started pulling boats off the pier to try and make a gap so it wouldn’t look like a forest line,” he said.
Lisa Cesaro, spokeswoman for Aramark Destinations, which manages the marina, said the fire was under control and contained as of Friday night.
“The cause of the fire is under investigation and will be announced by the National Park Service as information becomes available,” Cesaro said.
The Park Service did not immediately respond to the Associated Press’ request for comment.
Wilkes said he had not heard of any injuries. However, one of the management company’s boats was destroyed, he said.
Throughout the spring, boaters returned boats to marinas after an unusually wet winter raised the lake’s water levels to record lows. More than two million tourists boat on Lake Powell each year, according to the National Park Service.
Park rangers have responded to several houseboat fires in recent years, including in 2022, 2015 and 2011.