SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Last summer’s Parley’s Canyon Fire led to evacuation notices in English, not Spanish.
That prompted changes as officials worked to implement bilingual alerts ahead of wildfire season.
“It’s usually a matter of if, not when, with wildfires,” said Derek Siddoway, spokesperson for Summit County Health Dept.
He acknowledges that Spanish-speaking residents, especially in the Pinebrook area, were only receiving English alerts on their phones.
“We had some questions and some confusion about, should we evacuate?” said Siddoway.
“If you see a large plume of smoke, or if you know there’s danger in the area, and you’re getting messages, and it’s not in your native language or preferred language, it’s obviously concerning,” added Siddoway.
Now, the county is encouraging Spanish-speaking residents to sign up for alerts by texting SUMMITALERTA to 888777.