UTAH COUNTY, Utah, Sept. 20, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Officials are searching for a person who flew a drone near the south end of the Pole Creek Fire Wednesday afternoon, grounding air operations.
“Active air ops were underway and had to cease because of the drone,” said a tweet from Utah County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Spencer Cannon.
An update on the InciWeb website said: “At 2:45 p.m. Wednesday a drone was spotted inside the restricted airspace above the southern end of the Pole Creek Fire. All firefighting aircraft in the area were immediately ordered to stand down for their safety. Three helicopters that had been supporting fire crews on the ground with bucket work were pulled out of the area. Incident aircraft were grounded until it was confirmed the airspace was again safe.”
Cannon tweeted Thursday that U.S. Highway 6 through Spanish Fork Canyon is now open, but other closures and evacuations remain in place.
At 6 p.m., Cannon tweeted the U.S. Highway 89 closure and evacuation has been lifted. “Residents may return home but they remain in pre-evacuation status,” the tweet said. “U.S. Forest Service closure remains in place and violations will be enforced.”
The Pole Creek Fire is now 28 percent contained and has burned 95,701 acres, according to an update on InciWeb. Combined with the Bald Mountain Fire, which has burned 17,608 acres, and is 12 percent contained the two merged fires have consumed more than 113,309 acres as of Thursday. There are 1,895 personnel assigned to the fires.
The Pole Creek Fire started on Sept. 6 and the Bald Mountain Fire on Aug. 24; both fires were caused by lightning. Both fires are expected to be contained by Oct. 1.
For an interactive evacuation zone and fire boundary map click here.
Anyone who knows who flew the drone is asked to call Utah Valley dispatch at 801-794-3970.