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Families Evacuated As Coal Hollow Fire Grows

SCOFIELD, Utah – As the Coal Hollow Fire in Carbon County continued to grow Thursday, families potentially in the path of the flames tried to prepare. Highway 6 was shut down as firefighters tried to get the fire under control.

Justin Skilling, along with several family members, helped clear out irreplaceable items from his sister-in-law’s cabin. Just over a distant ridge, smoke from the fire loomed overhead.

“Yeah, it’s scary,” Skilling said. “I have one up Fairvew Canyon, so I’m freaking out about that.”

They removed several trophy animals from the cabin.

“That represents the thing that our extended family is most passionate about – spending time together,” Todd Ballantyne said.

The fire exploded Wednesday afternoon. In the morning, it was 3,000 acres. By the end of the day, it had reached 6,000 acres. Thursday morning, an infrared survey showed the fire had grown to 17,208 acres.

Homes in the central area were evacuated. Homes on the perimeter were put on pre-evacuation notice.

Fire response spokesperson Sarah Wheeler said conditions were tough on crews.

“Dry fuel, it’s hot, we have wind, and then we’re in really steep country there, where it’s just really difficult to access,” Wheeler said.

Late Thursday afternoon, officials closed State Highway 6 for a short time from Thistle Junction to Sheep Creek Road. Heavy flames and smoke had made it dangerously close to the highway. It remains closed

Officials from the Utah Department of Transportation said the roadway was re-opened around 6:30 p.m.

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