Gov. Herbert departs on trade mission to Asia, says he has ‘full confidence’ in firefighters battling Utah County fires

Governor Gary Herbert at his monthly KUED news conference on August 11, 2016. (Courtesy KUED)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Governor Gary Herbert said he has “full confidence” in firefighters battling the Bald Mountain and Pole Creek fires in Utah County, as he departed for a trade mission to Asia Tuesday evening.

Herbert is joined by 20 Utah companies and six organizations, visiting Taiwan for the second time. He canceled plans to be in South Korea earlier this week due to the fires.

Herbert issued the following statement before departing:

“I’m reluctant to leave the state while these fires continue to burn. Nonetheless, I have full confidence in the firefighters working to protect our communities and suppress the flames.

“Ever since Friday, I have been at the Incident Command Post each day, meeting with fire managers, local leaders, and agency officials. I have walked through the communities on the front lines of the fires. I am impressed with the experienced leadership of the firefighting teams and I am confident in their plans to fully suppress these fires. I am grateful for the way our firefighters are executing on those plans. I marvel at the cooperation shown by federal, state, county, municipal and private sector leaders. I am appreciative of their tireless efforts to protect our citizens, their homes, their livestock, and the infrastructure that provides their livelihood. And I am in awe of the miracles that have preserved life and property thus far.

“Because of the strong protections now in place for our communities, I am cautiously optimistic that our firefighters will have good news for us regarding progress on containment in the coming days.

“I will continue to monitor the progress of the fire through my second in command Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, Maj. Jess Anderson, acting head of our Department of Public Safety, and State Forester and fire expert Brian Cottam.”

Herbert has made arrangements to immediately return back to Utah if the fires worsen.

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