SPANISH FORK — The Pole Creek Fire, one of two large wildfires burning in southeastern Utah County, is 23 percent contained, fire officials said Monday evening.
Spanish Fork police announced Monday evening that firefighters have gained some ground on the Pole Creek Fire. A tweet from the department said the fire was 23 percent contained.
Combined, the Bald Mountain and Pole Creek fires have burned more than 86,000 acres as of Monday morning. Separately, the Pole Creek Fire has become the state’s largest fire in 2018 at more than 71,000 acres.
Earlier Monday, Marty Adell, spokesman for the Great Basin Incident Command team, said the portion of Pole Creek fire that jumped U.S. Highway 6 Sunday had quickly grown north of the highway.
“At this point during the day, that fire is getting up and moving at a high rate of speed, having a tremendous amount of fire spread,” he said. “It is moving north into the Diamond Fork Canyon up in the direction of the Hobble (Creek) area.”
The fire movement forced officials to add Diamond Fork and Sheep Creek areas, as well as parts of Hobble Creek Canyon into a mandatory evacuation zone. More than 2,000 homes and about 6,000 people have been evacuated because of the fire. The mayor of Elk Ridge said the evacuations could remain in place for two weeks.
There’s no exact timetable for the evacuations to be lifted, said Todd Pechota, incident commander for Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team.
“The reality is, at this point in time, it would be premature for me to speculate on how long the evacuations that are being caused by the Bald Mountain Fire (will last),” he said. “All I can tell you is that our team, the firefighters on the ground, truly understand what those evacuations do to the public. They are working so hard trying to get those areas secured so we can people back in as soon as possible.”
U.S. Highway 6 remains closed through Spanish Fork Canyon U.S. Highway 89 and state Route 201 from the I-80 junction to state Route 202 near Tooele were also closed Monday because of wildfires affecting the roadway, KSL Newsradio's Traffic Center reported. Utah Highway Patrol officials tweeted Monday that was no timetable for the highway to reopen.
Morning update: we expect highway 6 to remain closed for an extended period of time. Thank you for your patience. We will keep you updated if anything changes. #PoleCreekFire— Utah Highway Patrol (@UTHighwayPatrol) September 17, 2018
Sunday's fire coverage:
This article will be updated with the latest fire information throughout the day.