Firefighters make headway fighting Pole Creek, Bald Mountain Fires

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In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, photo, a wildfire burns in Salem, Utah. (Qiling Wang/The Deseret News via AP)

Firefighters made “significant headway” over the last few days battling the duel fires in southern Utah County and Juab County, according to a Pole Creek Fire press release. The Bald Mountain Fire reports 17,999 acres and 12 percent containment and the Pole Creek Fire reports 98,642 acres and 32 percent containment as of Sept. 21.

About 6,000 people were displaced from their homes due to the fires, but crews have been successful so far in keeping the nearby structures out of reach of the flames, according to the press release.

Firefighters continue to work at structure protection, laying hose lines and setting up sprinklers to defend homes in the most threatened areas. No residences have been lost in the fire, according to the press release.

Incident Commander Todd Pechota told the Deseret News on Sept. 18 that the cost of fighting the Pole Creek Fire reached $4.7 million. Meanwhile, the Bald Mountain Fire exceeded the cost of $1.5 million since the last issued report. Though, according to Pechota, the costs have likely now increased dramatically.

The Incident Information System, a government run website tracking wildfires estimated a containment date of Wednesday, Oct. 10 at approximately 12 a.m. for the Bald Mountain Fire and Monday, Oct. 1 at approximately 12 a.m. for the Pole Creek Fire.

Utah Fires Info Twitter account said a drone was spotted above the southern end of Pole Creek Fire at 2:45 p.m on Sept 19.

The Pole Creek Fire update press release said all firefighting aircraft in the area were immediately grounded for the crew’s safety, and the three helicopters that had been supporting ground crews were pulled out of the area as well.

Utah Fire Info Twitter reminded followers to keep personal drones away from fire airspace. The Pole Creek Fire press release said there still is a temporary flight restriction over both fires, as of Sept 19.

U.S Highway 6 and Highway 89 were reopened on Sept. 20 to the public in both directions, according to the Utah Department of Transportation Traffic Operations Center.

In an emailed press release issued Sept. 21 officials announced that crews will continue their full suppression efforts throughout the day. Meteorologists predicted winds from the southwest area with speeds up to 10 miles per hour.

According to the press release, fire crews will focus their priorities on Wanrhodes Creek and Covered Bridge communities. Air crews in the form of air tankers and helicopters will lend support, while ground crews build fire line and enforce structural protection.

Elsewhere, firefighters are working to prevent the flames from encroaching into Spanish Fork canyon, according to the press release.

No homes have been lost in the flames as of Sept. 21.

The fire overview and updates can be followed on the Incident Information System.

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