Progress Made In Bald Mountain, Pole Creek Fire Fight

Sep 18, 2018, 1:52 PM

SPANISH FORK, Utah – The Bald Mountain Fire and Pole Creek Fire have grown, burning through more than 90,000 acres of land combined.

However, incident commanders for both fires said progress has been made.

The Pole Creek Fire is now at 74,509 acres with 23 percent containment.

While the Bald Mountain Fire has scorched 15,635 acres and is still at zero percent containment, fire officials said Tuesday morning that containment number should be increasing very soon. Crews have dug a line around much of that fire.

Monday was not a Red Flag Warning day, and crews took advantage of that rarity. With bearable winds and good visibility, firefighters were able to make some headway with the support of air crews.

While it’s a misconception that aircraft are needed to put a fire out, they sure do help.

“It makes a difference because they’re getting water in areas that essentially you can’t get trucks to,” said Twin Falls Helitack squad leader Brandon Williams. “They can’t get anything else to it. They’ll have personnel, but a fire goes out better with water, so it’s easier to have that bucket work coming in, and people working on the ground with them.”

Williams showed KSL TV around his team’s helicopter, one of 12 in Spanish Fork contracted through the government ready to help at a moment’s notice.

While these crews have seen many wildfires this season, this one has its difficulties.

“It’s a normal fire, I guess,” Williams said. “It’s in rough country right now. It’s a lot of urban interface, which is not very fun because we don’t want to see anybody lose a house or anything like that, personal property. I mean we’ve got to account for firefighter safety, and then next on the list is public safety as well.”

Fire managers of both camps said they are working diligently to minimize the duration the about 6,000 people are out of their homes.

“We’ve made progress,” said Bald Mountain Fire Incident Commander Todd Pechota. “I cannot stand here in good faith and give people false expectations or hope. What I would rather do is under promise and over deliver.”

Fire managers will be available to answer questions Tuesday evening about both fires at a fire information meeting at the Salem Hills High School. The meeting begins at 6 p.m.

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Progress Made In Bald Mountain, Pole Creek Fire Fight