UTAH (ABC4) – Multiple agencies are working together in an effort to prevent wildfires and protect water supply along Parleys and Lambs Canyon.

This project is a joint venture between the USDA Forest Service, the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Summit County and the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities.

On Oct. 11, officials from each agency spoke at a press conference, stressing the importance of the project and saying that if a wildfire were to occur, it could dangerously impact nearby communities and water supply.

In the next few weeks, if you’re driving near Lamb’s Canyon, you might notice fresh cut trees, trailhead closures, or soil disturbance — this is all part of the project to protect Parley’s Creek Watershed and improve wildlife habitat.

Officials say that wildfires can pose a threat to the nearby watershed, which supplies water to around 365,000 people in the Salt Lake Valley. They said that they are also working on improving wildlife diversity to increase the resiliency and health of the forest.

This project has been ongoing in multiple phases since 2019. Officials say that fire suppression in the area has caused unnatural dense overgrowth of oak brush, and in the coming weeks, they will be mulching to reduce fuels, mimicking the results of a natural fire cycle.

Wildfires happened in the area of Lambs Canyon two years in a row — last year’s Parley’s Canyon Fire causing the evacuation of roughly 10,000 residents from around 6,000 to 8,000 homes.

“What this project hopes to do, with Parley’s Fire, instead of going straight up to the trees and burning the trees, this would provide a buffer. We would have a better chance of catching the fire before it gets into those trees and a different fuel type where it’s a little more difficult to safely suppress,” said Bekee Hotze, a Salt Lake District Ranger with the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

Mechanical treatments will be on the south side of I-80 this week and will continue up into Lambs Canyon. Officials say they expect it will continue for around three to four weeks.