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Wildfires in Utah grow fast overnight to 80,000 acres

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Staff Writer | September 16, 2018
Wildfires in Utah
America   The number of firefighters will be increased to at least 1,000

Driven by high winds, two wildfires raging in the center of U.S. state of Utah grew overnight to about 80,000 acres (323.7 square kilometers), the authorities said, adding hundreds of firefighters are fighting the blazes.

According to a tweet posted Saturday morning by Utah Fire Info, the Pole Creek Fire burned 62,844 acres (254.3 square kilometers)in Utah County, and the nearby Bald Mountain Fire consumed 17,760 acres (71.9 square kilometers). On Friday, the two fires, both caused by lightning early this month, burned about 68,000 acres combined.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert on Friday night spoke at the fairgrounds in Spanish Fork, a city 80 kilometers south of the state's capital Salt Lake City, that the terrain, visibility and wind are making firefighters' work difficult.

Herbert said that the number of firefighters will be increased to at least 1,000 as more aircraft, helicopters and ground resources get into place.

At least 500 personnel, including two Type 1 teams, are helping battle the fires, officials said during a Saturday morning press briefing. Air tankers will assist ground crews at the Pole Mountain Fire in Utah County, and helicopters with water buckets will be deployed at the Bald Mountain Fire.

So far, the local government has issued evacuations for over 5,000 residents from the cities of Woodland Hills and Elk Ridge, as well as residents from the Covered Bridge Canyon community in Spanish Fork Canyon.

These is no report of casualties.

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