Firefighters are making “significant” progress against the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires — but evacuation orders remain in effect for 6,000 people. There’s no indication when they might be able to return to their homes, according to fire officials.
The two Utah County fires have now burned a total of more than 100,000 acres — Pole Creek is officially at 84,444 acres; Bald Mountain at 16,554. But officials are reporting that the blazes are partially contained — Pole Creek is at 28 percent containment; Bald Mountain at 12 percent.
Officials are projecting the Pole Creek Fire will not be fully contained until Oct. 1; the Bald Mountain Fire will not reach full containment until Oct. 10.
Efforts were briefly complicated Tuesday evening after someone flew a drone over the south end of the fire. Crews halted all air operations at that point to avoid any collisions. Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon urged people to report to dispatch — at 801-794-3970 — if they knew who was controlling the device.
Flying a drone near an active wildfire is illegal. Penalties for doing so can include a fine up to $25,000 and possible criminal prosecution.
And there are concerns that Wednesday will be more difficult. According to officials from the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, where the fires are burning, “another day of critical fire weather is expected" with “very active to extreme fire behavior with Red Flag conditions of high winds and dry fuels.” Wind gusts of 35 miles per hour and relative humidity in the single digits are expected.
US-6 through Spanish Fork Canyon and US-89 remain closed on Wednesday.