Officials: Pole Creek, Bald Mountain fires joined overnight Saturday, no homes damaged so far
The Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires grew to 74,757 acres as of Sunday morning, and current evacuations have not changed.
U.S. Highway 6, at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon to the north of Helper in Carbon County, reopened after 9 a.m. Sunday though with the caveat that it might intermittently close again due to fire activity.
Diamond Fork Canyon and Spanish Oaks near Spanish Fork are still under pre-evacuation status, and Elk Ridge and Woodland Hills are under mandatory evacuation.
Both Payson and Santaquin canyons are closed, and the Nebo Loop Road in Nephi Canyon is closed.
The teams have reported Sunday’s priority will be to continue to construct and improve existing lines “in an effort to protect Woodland Hills and Elk Ridge areas.” Due to much of the terrain being steep and inaccessible, firefighters are scouting locations for containment lines that pose less risk and exposure.
The Pole Creek fire has burned 61,248 acres and is 2 percent contained as of Sunday morning. The Bald Mountain fire reached 13,509 acres at 0 percent containment.
The fire has not crossed U.S. Highway 6, although the flames are almost a quarter a mile away from the Covered Bridge area in Spanish Fork Canyon, said KJ Pollock, public affairs specialist with Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
The area is still closed while crews concentrate keeping the fire from jumping the highway.
Fire officials met Sunday morning at the fairgrounds in Spanish Fork to discuss further updates.
According to the U.S. Forest Service Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest on Facebook, those managing the Pole Creek fire assigned resources to Covered Bridge where a structure protection group is now assigned and adding more sprinklers.
With cities evacuated, church congregations in surrounding areas invited displaced residents to attend their services Sunday morning. Messages of prayers for first responders and communities’ safety have ensued since the fires flared Thursday -- and Sunday was no different.
Nebo School District thanked the community Sunday morning for the outpouring of donations and support for those displaced and the personnel fighting the fires. Due to the overwhelming response, they, as well as the Red Cross, ask that community members pause supplying donations for the foreseeable future until more are officially requested.