UPDATE: US 6 has reopened Friday morning as the pair of fires burn on 20,000 acres, but US 89 remains closed. Click here for updates on this developing story.
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SPANISH FORK, Utah -- The Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires were both just 75 acres earlier week, but now the two have merged and are burning on 20,000 acres.
Firefighters said high winds reaching 30 to 40 miles per hour picked up the slow-moving fire that started in early September and stoked it into the threat it is now.
“The rate that the fire is spreading, our crews are just trying to get ahead,” said James Turner, the Pole Creek Fire Incident Manager.
Turner said the winds were so high it was difficult to fly helicopters to survey the area and drop water on the flames.
High winds and warnings are in place until Saturday, Turner said, mentioning with the start of Elk Hunting season hunters and campers will be out of luck in this area.
“You’re going to see smoke from both of these fires,” Turner said. “With the extreme fire behavior and the high winds.”
Both fires have caused closures along Nebo Loop Road and forced fire authorities to mandate evacuations in the neighboring communities of Elk Ridge, Covered Bridge and Woodland Hills.
Utah Fire Info shared videos of both fires via Twitter:
This is a developing story and will be updated as Fox 13 receives more information on fire conditions.