Pole Canyon Fire Burns Nearly 500 Acres, Prompts Evacuation Advisory

Jul 15, 2020, 11:06 PM | Updated: 11:27 pm

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah – Neighbors were relieved to see the Pole Canyon Fire moving in the opposite direction Wednesday night after it had burned nearly 500 acres, prompting an evacuation advisory for a small community in Eagle Mountain.

“Well, they knocked on the door and said we needed to evacuate,” said Cory Connin, a resident in the White Hills community for more than 20 years.

“[I] came out and saw the mountain was on fire,” he said.

As a former volunteer chief of the Cedar Fort Fire Department, Connin has seen his fair share of burns near the small, isolated White Hills neighborhood. The community was annexed by Eagle Mountain in the last few years.

“Fire danger’s always been extreme out here,” he said. “The winds with this canyon shift quite often.”

Firefighters initially told homeowners on the road nearest to the fire they needed to leave. Thanks to a shift in the wind and the efforts of firefighters, the threat soon decreased and authorities issued an evacuation advisory for the neighborhood of 125 homes.

Connin quickly got to work using his trimmer to create a fire break behind his neighbors’ homes, which run along a field of dry brush.

Like the vast majority of fires we’ve seen this season, the Pole Canyon Fire was preventable. Officials with the Unified Fire Authorities said people using a bulldozer were responsible for sparking the flames.

“My only thoughts coming home were [my daughter] Avery and the dogs,” said Tony Johnson, who heard about the fire while at work.

Johnson was among several people who sat and watched the firefighters in action.

“We’re lucky,” he said. “Just having people like that go out and fight the fires. It’s very dangerous.”

But no matter how many smokejumpers fall from the sky, or how many drops aircraft make, 20 plus years living in the area have taught Johnson that conditions can change quickly.

“It’s still scary because fire is such an unpredictable thing,” he said. “All you got to have is a shift in winds and we’re right back in it.”

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Pole Canyon Fire Burns Nearly 500 Acres, Prompts Evacuation Advisory