Bald Mountain Fire Update 8:00 AM 9-21-18

Update Header 9-21-18 AM

September 21, 2018  8 a.m.

Special Note: Highway 6 was opened early Thursday morning. Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) is managing the Bald Mountain Fire and Great Basin Team 1 is managing the Pole Creek Fire. Both teams are cooperating when informing the public and sharing resources. Utah County Public Works –Roads Division will be using graders to remove rocks off Nebo Loop Road and Santaquin Canyon Road each day until further notice.

Weather/Fire Behavior: Thursday’s weather, as predicted, brought favorable conditions for the firing operations. The relative humidity only recovered to 25% this morning, which indicates that fuels will be dry again today. Today will bring light westerly terrain driven winds, 4-8 mph, with gusts to 15 mph on the ridges. High temperatures will reach 70° with relative humidity in the mid to upper teens.   A Haines index of 5 is expected. Suppression actions have denied the fire access to new fuels; we can expect some burning in the interior today. Any fire spread is expected to be backing and flanking. Firefighters will be watching for rollouts in steep terrain.

Current Situation:

On the north, side in Division J, resources dropped water and retardant along the perimeter utilizing the Mobile Retardant Plant. The use of retardant has provided firefighters the opportunity to construct direct fireline in accessible areas. Structure protection is in place; pumps, hose lays and sprinklers continue to be tested daily. Structures farther away from the fire perimeter are continuing to be assessed to collect data for Utah County to use for possible future emergencies.

Yesterday, in Division D, resources were in place, fuel conditions were favorable and the wind was from the northwest as the strategic firing operation began at 11:11 AM. The careful planning for the firing operation paid off as it was successfully completed by 3:15 PM.  There was also a 50 acre pocket of fuel fired off in Loafer Canyon. Today hotshot crews will be working along the northwest corner going direct, taking out fuels along the fire perimeter. These crews will be spiking out over night to minimize travel risks and save time. Due to the rough terrain, a Rapid Extraction Module Support (REMS) has been placed in Division D. REMS has specialized equipment and training to treat, package and transport a severely injured or ill patient out of rough, remote terrain when conditions prohibit other options.

The portion of the fire in the Mount Nebo Wilderness Area, including Bald Mountain, has extremely rough terrain. There is a contingency line around this area, and it is reinforced with retardant. The fire has made no movement in Division A for several days. Some of these resources will also begin to be transferred to areas of the fire with greater need.

On the south end of the fire, Division AA, crews will monitor and mop up the fire perimeter. (Mop up is extinguishing or removing burning material near control lines, felling snags, and trenching logs to prevent rolling after an area has burned) Aircraft will be available to assist with water and retardant as needed. Fire managers report that this line is looking good and after another day, some resources may be available for other assignments with greater need.

The night shift continues to monitor the fire and evacuated communities that have been provided structure protection. They also monitor and hold the day operation’s firing suppression actions on the north side of the fire. There were no significant issues reported last night.

 Closures and Public Safety: The public is reminded to expect heavy fire traffic in Payson where the Bald Mountain Incident Command Post is located.  Evacuations and pre-evacuations remain in place for several areas in the fire vicinity. A list of current evacuations is available at


For a list of definitions of fire terms, see:

Fire Statistics:

 Location: 1 mile from Payson and Elk Ridge, UT                                    Start Date: August 24, 2018

Size:  17,999 acres                                                                                        Percent Contained: 12

Total Personnel: 726 personnel                                                                 Cause:  Lightning

Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team- Todd Pechota, Incident Commander

Information Center: 385-955-0770

Hours of operation: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.




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