9-19-18 Utah County Update

Yesterday was another Red Flag Fire Weather Warning day. It was a hot, dry, windy day and firefighters faced active fire behavior across the Pole Creek Fire, with increases in acreage nearing 10,000 acres. The most active area was the northern portion of the fire above Highway 6, where flames pushed north paralell with the Wanrhodes Creek Road. Firefighters continued to work at structure protection, removing fuels, laying hose lines and setting up sprinklers to defend homes in the area. To their credit, no residences have been lost in this fire.

A Red Flag Fire Weather Warning has been issued for today. The ninth such day out of the last ten. Temperatures will be in the upper 80s, with relative humdities in the single digits and sustained  south/southwest winds at 8 to 12 miles per hour at lower elevations and 16 to 20 mph at the ridgetops. Wind gusts could be as high as 35 mph. Fuels are extremely dry and will readily burn. The Probablilty of Ignition today will be 67 percent in shaded areas and 100 percent in fuels exposed to the sun. This means that any ember landing in one of these lighted fuel beds is likely to ignite. The fire is expected to continue pushing to the north, west and east above Highway 6.

This afternoon a weak cold front will move through the area. This will result in a wind shift from south/southwest to northwest in the early evening. As the front passes, winds will be gusty, and will push the fire to the southeast, which could test established containment lines on the southern flanks of the fire.

Firefighters continue to improve and secure containment lines where they can safely do so. Containment has increased and additional resources have been brought in to strengthen the suppression operation.

In this morning’s breifing, Fire Behavior Anaylist Stewart Turner warned firefighters that, “Today is a heads up day. Rely on your training.” High winds have the potential to throw embers for up to one half mile ahead of the fire. With current conditions, these embers will result in spot fires far ahead of the flame front, creating many challenges to firefighters.

Air Quality Information: https://tools.airfire.org/outlooks/CentralUtah

Area Closures: The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest implemented an area closure for the fire area, which will be in effect util it is recinded by the Forest Supervisor. The full closure order and map can be found under the closure tab on the Pole Creek Fire InciWeb page. The closure also includes Santaquin Canyon, Mona Pole Canyon, and the Nebo Loop National Scenic Byway from Payson Canyon to Salt Creek Canyon.

Road Closures: US Highway 6 is closed at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon (Milepost 178) to the junction with US Highway 191 (Milepost 239) just north of Helper. US Highway 89 is closed at the Thistle Junction on Highway 6 to the Utah/Sanpete county line (Milepost 297 – 312). See the Utah Department of Transportation website for more information: http://commuterlink.utah.gov/CLVALertViewer.aspx?CLType-1

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): There is a temporary flight restriction over both fires: http://trf.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_8_1898.html

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