Fire Update/Media Tour 10

A Pacific Oasis wildland firefighting crew works on structure protection in the Covered Bridge community on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.

Nearly two weeks after a pair of wildfires threatened homes, closed roads and caused thousands to evacuate, fire officials reported the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires are more than 50 percent contained.

The Pole Creek Fire is at 55 percent contained, while the Bald Mountain Fire reached 61 percent containment Tuesday morning.

Both wildfires have burned more than 120,440 acres in the mountains of southern Utah County, drawing assistance of firefighters from 37 states.

There are still mandatory evacuation orders in place for the Covered Bridge area and the right fork of Hobble Creek. Pre-evacuation orders are also still in place.

Overnight temperatures were in the mid-30 degrees near the fires, and winds reached 20 mph on the ridges. Relative humidity was expected to be in the double digits on Tuesday.

“For the next few days, cooler temperatures will make for better firefighting conditions,” fire officials reported on a social media post on the Pole Creek Fire Facebook page.

The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache and Manti-La Sal National Forests implemented closures for the fire areas until further notice, officials reported. There is also temporary flight restriction still in place over the fire and surrounding area. The closure includes drones.

Fire officials hope to soon start suppression repair tasks in areas around the Bald Mountain Fire. Some crews already began repair tasks on Monday around Elk Ridge, Woodland Hills and Loafer Canyon.

Dominion Energy also re-pressurized the pipeline for Elk Ridge and Woodland Hills residents.

All Payson Fire Department resources and personnel were heading home on Tuesday. The firefighters were released from the Bald Mountain Fire after working more than 294 hours in a row, with crews fighting the fire since midnight on Sept. 13 until 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

“Our firefighters have appreciated coming to the firehouse to change out crews and seeing all of the handmade thank you notes,” said a social media post on the Payson Fire Rescue Facebook page. “These are read and we just want to say thank you to our community for assisting and supporting our department as we served your safety needs.”

The air quality across Utah County was good and in the green zone on Tuesday.

A new lightning-caused fire started near Mount Nebo in northern Juab County. The fire is not a part of two massive wildfires, but crews from the Bald Mountain Fire are responding. The fire is east of Mona and firefighters have two helicopters and twenty fire personnel on scene.

Firefighters also extinguished two lightning-caused fires outside of the fire perimeter near Indianola.

Ashley Stilson covers crime, courts and breaking news for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2556 or astilson@heraldextra.com.

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