SPANISH FORK — Thousands of residents in Woodland Hills and Elk Ridge were ordered to evacuate as the Pole Creek Fire crested a nearby peak and threatened homes below late Thursday afternoon.

Ignited by lightning last week along the Nebo Loop Road, the Pole Creek Fire had surged to about 20,000 acres shortly before 10 p.m., fueled by warm, dry and windy weather, fire officials reported. The blaze is 2 percent contained.

Late Thursday afternoon, residents of Woodland Hills and Elk Ridge cities, as well as the Covered Bridge community in Spanish Fork Canyon, were told to evacuate.

“The Pole Creek Fire has reached Santaquin Peak, putting them in greater danger,” Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon tweeted. “Evacuees needing shelter or assistance can gather at Salem Hills High School in Salem.”

People living in areas of Spanish Fork south of Powerhouse Road have also been told to prepare to leave their homes should the need arise.

Earlier in the day, homes were evacuated along U.S. 89 from the junction of U.S. 6 to Indianola in Sanpete County as flames moved east.

The fire started on Sept. 6 in the Spanish Fork Ranger District in Juab County.

Thursday afternoon, Cannon estimated that about 40 homes along U.S. 89 were in the evacuation area but a “number” of them were unoccupied.

“We tried to get (residents) out as quick as we could, and I think most of them were gone in 30, 35 minutes,” Cannon said.

However, one resident refused to leave, he said.

“It’s not uncommon to have somebody who says, ‘No, this is my castle, I’m not leaving,'” Cannon said.

Cannon said the man told officials if they returned later, he still wouldn’t leave.

“There’s good reason why fire officials make the decision to evacuate. And the reason they do that is because it’s dangerous to them. And if people choose …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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