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Fire updates: Pole Creek Fire 28 percent contained, some evacuees return home

By Carter Williams and Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com | Updated - Sep 19th, 2018 @ 9:58pm | Posted - Sep 19th, 2018 @ 1:45pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Some residents evacuated by the Bald Mountain Fire will be allowed back in their homes Wednesday evening, authorities said.

Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said residents on U.S. Highway 89 from the Eagles Landing development, near milepost 302, are now allowed back into their homes, as the area goes from mandatory evacuation to pre-evacuation status.

Cannon said at least 18 homes are in that section of land. The pre-evacuation status means those residents should be prepared to leave at any point if the fire becomes a threat to the area again.

Crews continued to battle both the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires Wednesday. The fires have now burned more than 100,000 acres combined in southeastern Utah County — an area now larger than Utah Lake. The lake is 96,000 acres, according to the Utah Lake Commission.

By Wednesday evening, the Pole Creek Fire has burned a total of 88,420 acres, up about 14,000 acres since Tuesday. It is 28 percent contained, according to Inciweb, the federal fire information website. Bald Mountain Fire officials said the blaze has burned 16,554 acres as of Wednesday evening and is 12 percent contained.

Crews face the ninth Red Flag Weather Warning day they've had in 10 days, officials said in an emailed statement. A red flag warning is a forecast issued by the National Weather Service to inform crews that conditions may contribute to wildland fire combustion and rapid spread, according to the weather service.

Firefighters continue to work on structure protection and will watch out for winds that could blow embers a half mile ahead of the fire. The most active area of the fire Tuesday was the northern portion above U.S. Highway 6 where flames pushed north, parallel with Wanrhodes Creek Road, officials said.

All evacuations and pre-evacuations remain in place.

More than 2,000 homes and about 6,000 people remain evacuated, including residents from Birdseye, Woodland Hills, Elk Ridge and the Covered Bridge, Diamond Fork and Sheep Creek areas, as well as the right fork of Hobble Creek Canyon. Residents along U.S. Highway 89 from Thistle to the Sanpete County line are also under evacuation.

Parts of Salem and the left fork of Hobble Creek Canyon are currently on pre-evacuation status, according to Utah County sheriff's emergency manager Peter Quittner. Officials have asked residents to have their belongings packed and ready to go in case evacuation becomes mandatory.

There is now a website available with information about the Utah County fires and relief efforts at utahcountyrelief.org.

Watch here for live updates on all the fires throughout Utah.

Tuesday's coverage:

Editor's note: Cannon initially said residents in the area from Thistle Junction to milepost 302 on U.S. Highway 89 would be allowed back home on Wednesday evening, but later said only residents from milepost 302 south to the Utah-Sanpete county line would be allowed back. This story has been updated to reflect that change.

Wednesday, 09:43pm

Pole Creek Fire continues pushing north of U.S. Highway 6 as crews gain containment

Wednesday, 06:58pm

Some residents along U.S. Highway 89 near Pole Creek Fire allowed to return home Wednesday

Wednesday, 05:59pm

Eastbound SR-201 to reopen Wednesday night

Wednesday, 03:10pm

Drone reported at south end of Pole Creek Fire suspends air operations

Wednesday, 02:22pm

Cobblerest Fire 65 percent contained

Wednesday, 02:01pm

Officials expect smoke from Bald Mountain, Pole Creek fires to drift into Vernal, Price, Moab in the next 48 hours

Wednesday, 12:30pm

Increased smoke expected as crews work on southern part of Bald Mountain Fire

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Carter Williams
Jacob Klopfenstein

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