Utah County declares emergency given growing fires
UPDATE: (Sept. 15, 1:26 p.m.) -- Utah County Sheriff announced that US Highway 6 is now closed in Spanish Fork Canyon. Diamond Fork Canyon is now under pre-evacuation notice.
(KUTV) -- Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee issued a crisis declaration Saturday morning hoping to get more firefighting resources and generate public awareness about the dangerous fires that have burned a combined 80,000 acres and caused evacuations.
“We are overwhelmed by this thing,” said Lee.
On Saturday morning, Kathy Jo Pollock, spokesperson for the Great Basin Team One, the interagency fire team fighting the fire, said both fires grew overnight.
The Pole Creek Fire burned 62,844 acres.
The Bald Mountain Fire, burning just to the east, burned 17,760 acres.
Fire bosses said air tankers are dropping water on the Pole Creek Fire. Choppers are dropping water on the Bald Mountain Fire.
Crews are also using dozers to dig a fire break around that fire, which is burning into very steep terrain.
Sgt. Spencer Cannon with Utah County Sheriff’s Department issued a warning to residents in the affected areas to heed road closures and evacuation notices.
“If you get caught in the fire area, it might be impossible to help you,” he said.
Lee expressed anger that the Pole Creek Fire was allowed to burn for days before it was fueled by wind gusts.
He said federal land managers who made the decision to let the fire burn itself out had their “cold finger prints” all over the fire.
The American Red Cross is accepting donations at the Nebo School District Warehouse at 350 S. Main Street, Spanish Fork.