Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
857 West South Jordan Parkway
South Jordan, UT 84095
September 20, 2018 8 a.m.
Special Note: Highway 6 was opened early this morning. The 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. Bald Mountain Logistics is supporting Pole Creek Division Z resources with meals at a camp nearer their work assignments. This keeps cost down and eliminates drive time reducing risks. Utah County Public Works –Roads Division will be using graders to remove rocks off Nebo Loop Road and Santaquin Canyon Road at the beginning of their shift each day until further notice. A repeater was set up on the south end of the fire to improve communications on the south end of the fire.
Weather: Breezy northwest winds are expected Thursday with gusts of 20-25 mph on the ridges. Relative humidity will again be very dry, lowering into the single digits. A Haines of 3 is expected. The cold front has arrived and the changed wind direction from SW to the W and gradually to the NW is in process. There will be sunny skies with temperatures in the mid 60°s to 70°.
Current Situation: Much of the conifer fuel has burned; most of the fire has reached oak brush and other slower burning fuels. The change in wind direction today may allow the fire to find more pockets of fuel; however, westerly winds will blow the NW corner of the fire back on itself (away from Payson, Elk Ridge and Woodland Hills). Yesterday’s planned firing suppression tactics were postponed due to smoke and grounded helicopters. Some resources have been identified as Initial Attack to be ready to respond to any new starts in the area.Smoke that was observed yesterday afternoon was the result of crews successfully completing ground firing suppression actions on the south side of the fire. This action was used to remove fuels along Nebo Loop Road east to Division Z on the Pole Creek Fire.
On the north side in Division J, contingency dozer lines were completed and aerial resources dropped water and retardant along the perimeter. Today, crews will be constructing direct fireline in some accessible areas. Structure protection is in place; pumps, hose lays and sprinklers are tested regularly. The Mobile Retardant Plant is set up in Division J to improved efficiency and response times for helicopters to assist firefighters while keeping the fire perimeter in check.
Yesterday, crews on the south end of the fire, Division AA, successfully completed firing suppression actions along Nebo Loop Road to the southeast connecting the fire perimeter to Division Z on the south flank of the Pole Creek Fire. Crews will be improving and monitoring this line today.
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. Again yesterday, the fire made no movement in Division A.
Division D, on the northwest corner of the fire, has some extremely steep terrain. With this in mind, fire managers decided that the safest tactic for firefighters and the threatened communities is to remove a 300 acre pocket of fuel with firing suppression actions. This morning when resources are in place, fuel conditions are favorable and the wind is from the northwest, the operation will begin. Yesterday, in preparation, the short section of dozer line from Payson Canyon west to the fire edge was pretreated with retardant. Today the weather conditions look favorable to implement the firing and residents should expect to see increased smoke and fire activity in this area. Hotshot crews will be implementing the firing operations on the ground. Two large helicopters will be available in the air and the structure protection group will be monitoring from the road and the communities of Elk Ridge and Woodland Hills. The carefully planned operation will be methodically implemented to assure success; it is expected to take 3-6 hours to complete. (See map below)
The night shift continues to monitor the fire and evacuated communities that have been provided structure protection. They are also monitoring and holding the day operations firing suppression actions on the south side of the fire. Night shift reported a quiet shift 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 http://www.utahcounty.gov/Dept/Sheriff/Index.asp.
For a list of definitions of fire terms, see: https://www.nwcg.gov/glossary/a-z
Location: 1 mile from Payson and Elk Ridge, UT
Start Date: August 24, 2018
Size: 17,608 acres
Percent Contained: 12
Total Personnel: 690 personnel
Blue square is the location of today's firing operation in Division D on the northwest corner of the Bald Mountain Fire.
Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team- Todd Pechota, Incident Commander
Information Center: 385-955-0770
Hours of operation: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.