47,387-acre Wood Hollow Fire 100 percent contained

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jun 23, 2012

UPDATE 7:05 a.m., July 2: The fire is 100 percent contained, according to Utah Fire Info.

UPDATE 3 p.m., July 1: The fire has been measured at 47,387 acres and is 80 percent contained.

UPDATE 11:10 a.m. June 30: The Wood Hollow Fire is 65% contained at 47,295 acres. Full containment is expected by midnight. Fire personnel are being diverted to other fires now.

UPDATE 12:28 p.m.: Sanpete Co. Sheriff's Office says residents of Oaker Hills, Indian Ridge and Elk Ridge subdivisions will be allowed in at 8 a.m. Saturday. (via @SanpeteSheriff

UPDATE 10:00 a.m.: The fire is now 35 percent contained with an estimated containment date of Saturday, June 30.

UPDATE 9:10 a.m.: Rocky Mountain Power has released photos of utility damage from the fire. They say copper thieves stripping wires from lines is a possible cause of the fire.

UPDATE 7:50 a.m., June 29: The fire has been measured at 46,402 acres and 25 percent containment.

UPDATE 10:40 p.m.: The Sanpete County Commissioner Spencer Cox said on Twitter that he confirmed 52 homes and cabins were destroyed on the west side of the Indianola Valley.

UPDATE 11:14 a.m.: In Sanpete County, US-89 open, evacuation orders lifted for all communities to the east of it. West of US-89 evacuation orders still stand.

UPDATE 10:59 a.m.: Sanpete Co. Sheriff's Office lists June 30 as the estimated containment date.

UPDATE 8:55 a.m., June 28: Sanpete Co. Sheriff's Office says Hwy 31 and 264 are closed in Sanpete County for fire suppression. Cabins and trailers in the area are not believed to be in immediate danger.

Emergency personnel are in evacuated areas conducting safety evaluations. (via @SanpeteSheriff

UPDATE 9:37 p.m.: Firefighters say they are making gains in battling the Wood Hollow Fire, which is more than 70 square miles in size. It has killed at least one person, and one person is reported missing.

The Wood Hollow Fire is estimated to have burned 45,313 acres and is now at 20 percent containment, according to the Sanpete County Sheriff's Office.

FOX 13 will have the latest information Thursday morning.

UPDATE 5:12 p.m.: Local authories say they are confident they have the communities of Birdseye and Fairview protected for now after they lost considerable ground on Tuesday because of high winds.

Residents that were evacuated were very grateful for the firefighter's efforts.

"They've done a wonderful job. Because yesterday morning we went to Fairview to get supplies and in 15 minutes it [the wildfire] exploded," said Birdseye evacuee Connie McClelland. "There may have been one home that got a little damage, but I didn't see anything else."

Firefighters continue to concentrate on water drops to hold the fire line and push back the fire away from Birdseye.

UPDATE 12:35 p.m.: Sanpete Co. Sheriff's Office says Fairview Rancheros in Indianola is still the only subdivision west of Highway 89 that is open. Hot spots and other safety concerns are too high. (via @SanpeteSheriff)

UPDATE 12:00 p.m.: Evacuation order lifted for Fairview. Highway 89 will remain closed from Hilltop north. The Fairview Mayor tells FOX 13's Ben Winslow that the person killed is from Indianola. (via @benwinslow)

UPDATE 11:00 a.m.: Sanpete Co. Sheriff's Office says that they have confirmed 14 homes and 50 structures lost in Oaker Hills. (via @SanpeteSheriff)

UPDATE 10:28 a.m.: As temperatures climbed and the winds picked up, a small column of smoke from the Wood Hollow Fire appeared over the ridge from Fairview. To the north, smoke could be seen from areas near Indianola.

Helicopters were continuing to make water drops around the community.

On the other side of the valley from Fairview, smoke was rising over the mountain from the Seeley Fire, which has forced evacuations around Scofield.

UPDATE 9:52 a.m.: Sanpete County Sheriff Brian Nielson said they have notified next of kin on the body found in a burned out home in the Elk Ridge area, but he has not yet released the name.

There is also another attempt to locate for a missing person in Sanpete County. However, the sheriff said it was unknown if that person is another victim of the Wood Hollow Fire or even in the area.

56 structures have been documented as burning in the fire. Nielson said that number could climb dramatically. He said "hundreds" of structures of various types burned in the fire.

Winds are expected to pick up again today. Sheriff Nielson said the fire conditions were "explosive." Already, a plume of smoke can be seen over Indianola from Fairview.

UPDATE 9:15 a.m.: Fairview Mayor Benson says evacuations remain in place, but they will meet with fire officials at noon to reassess. (via @benwinslow)

UPDATE 8:48 a.m., June 27: The Sanpete County Sheriff, commissioners and Fairview city leaders are meeting right now to discuss when to lift the evacuation order. Concern is that winds will pick up again and the fire could still encroach upon Fairview.

Mayor Jonathan Benson told FOX 13's Ben Winslow that the Wood Hollow Fire came within 200 yards of a turkey farm on the outskirts of town. It was within less than a mile of city limits.

Benson said he hoped residents would be allowed to return home today, but would not lift the evacuation order if it meant that people would have to leave again if the fire came back on the town.

Meanwhile, the Sanpete County Sheriff's Office has a tentative identification on the body found inside a burned out home. The medical examiner is expected to confirm the identity later today.

UPDATE 7:27 a.m., June 27: Fire officials say that 56 residences have been destroyed in the fire, which has grown to 46,190 acres. It is still at 15 percent containment. (via @benwinslow)

UPDATE 10:04 p.m.: Sanpete County Commissioner Spencer Cox told FOX 13 the fire came within a mile of Fairview, but he believes it has been spared at this point. He also said the fire is not believed to have jumped Hwy 89.

Adding to the concern is the 600 acre Seeley Fire burning over the mountain to the east in Emery County. Cox said it forced the evacuation of a Girl's Camp at Millard Flat and they tracked down a Boy Scout troop camping in the area and evacuated them safely.

UPDATE 9:05 p.m.: The evacuation order is still in effect for the towns of Fairview and Birdseye in Sanpete County. The Sanpete County Sheriff's Office tells FOX 13 they will reassess the situation to determine if people can go back to their homes Wednesday morning.

Forest service authorities have not yet provided a new estimate of acreage burned. A new estimate may be available Wednesday. The latest figure released Monday night was that nearly 40,000 acres were burned.

Sanpete County Sheriff's deputies have not released the name of the individual who died, but say that the victim was a man found in one of the burned out homes left by the wildfire.

"There are large, primary and secondary homes ... I don't know if he was living there full-time or it was a secondary home," said Sanpete County Sheriff Sheriff Brian Nielson.

Governor Gary Herbert arrived in Sanpete County and spoke with FOX 13's Ben Winslow from Mt. Pleasant Tuesday night. [Interview below]

UPDATE 4:40 p.m.: The towns of Fairview and Birdseye were evacuated as the Wood Hollow Fire closed in on Highway 89. Residents were directed by Sanpete County authorities to move to a Red Cross shelter in Mt. Pleasant, located inside the North Sanpete High School.

High winds have fanned the wildfire westward and crews are working to keep the wildfire from jumping the highway line and encroaching residential structures.

As of Tuesday night, the fire was within a few miles from Fairview.

The Sanpete County Sheriff's Office tells FOX 13 that the evacuation order for Birdseye and Fairview remain in effect over Tuesday and will reassess the situation to determine if people can go back to their homes come Wednesday morning.

Credit: Ben Winslow

UPDATE 3:26 p.m.: Sanpete County Sheriffs say a body was discovered Tuesday in one of the areas that was evacuated for the Wood Hollow fire. Read more here >>

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: Rocky Mountain Power officials told FOX 13's Ben Winslow they are investigating whether or not copper thieves may be involved in what sparked the Wood Hollow Fire.

In a statement, the utility said:

Rocky Mountain Power is working cooperatively with multiple agency fire officials in an attempt to determine the cause of the Wood Hollow Fire in Sanpete County, Utah. One plausible cause for the fire is a short circuit that occurred on a transmission structure in the area. A recent copper theft resulting in the removal of critical ground wires on this and adjacent structures was found during this investigation and is a likely contributing factor. We are early in the process of fully investigating this incident and any determination as to the cause of the fire should be considered preliminary at this time.

UPDATE 9:11 a.m.: Evacuations have been lifted for east of Highway 89 and the Fairview Ranchos, the Sanpete County Sheriff's Office says.

However, people should be prepared to evacuate should fire conditions change. They were also told not to use utilities until the companies approve it.

UPDATE 8:55 a.m.: After initially reporting that 290 structures (100 of them homes) had been destroyed in the Wood Hollow Fire, a spokeswoman for the team overseeing the firefighting effort said the information they published was incorrect.

"At this point, we really don't know how many is in there," said Dorothy Harvey, the public information officer for the Whalen's Type 2 Incident Management Team.

Sheriff's deputies and firefighters do plan to go in to the burned out area and conduct an inventory today. The Sanpete County Sheriff's Office is reporting 14 homes and 50 other buildings destroyed in the Oaker Hills area.

As for why they announced that so many homes and buildings had been destroyed, Harvey said they were trying to figure out why it was posted on the federal government's official reporting site for wildfire information.

"I apologize for that," Harvey said.

UPDATE 7:48 a.m.: The Wood Hollow Fire is 15 percent contained. Fire crews dug containment lines around some of the safer areas overnight. The fire has destroyed 14 homes and 50 structures. Weather conditions have been calmer, but the vegetation is still very dry. No new evacuation orders have been put into effect.

UPDATE 7:33 a.m.: Here is an updated map provided by the Utah Division of Emergency Management.

UPDATE 9:30 p.m.: As of Monday night, evacuation orders remain in effect according to Sanpete County Sheriff's deputy Eric Zeeman:

"Those evacuations are going to stay in place until further notice.
That's due to the wind that we're experiencing now and those flare-ups
that we've seen and talked about. We just want to make sure people
stay safe," said Zeeman.

Fire crews will be on the blaze overnight. They will have people
working in the dark, digging a containment line in places where it is

UPDATE 4:50 p.m.: The Wood Hollow Fire is estimated to have burned 38,928 acres and  according to Sanpete Sheriff's Office, 14 homes and 50 structures were destroyed.

The sheriff's office says Big Hollow, Water Hollow and Big Horn roads are closed, while evacuation orders are still in place until further notice.

UPDATE 4:27 p.m.: The Wood Hollow Fire has been mapped at 35,407 acres and is now 10 percent contained. It is human caused, fire officials told FOX 13.

In an interview with FOX 13, Great Basin Incident Management Team 3 commander Mike Whalen, who is overseeing the massive firefighting effort, said he is hoping for 20-percent containment by the end of the day.

"We have not heard of any new homes or any other structures being lost as of yet today," he said.

Asked if there were any more evacuations, he told FOX 13's Ben Winslow: "Not that we know of right now. If the weather holds like it is today and we have this humidity in the air that has helped us out quite a bit today, we hope that there will be no more evacuations."

There are 8 helicopters and 8 air tankers being used to fight the fire.

More on FOX 13's Live at 5!

UPDATE 11:53 a.m. Deseret Power and Rocky Mountain Power are working to secure power lines. Residents who have been evacuated should stay away from the area to avoid injury. The cause of the Wood Hollow Fire is still under investigation. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Southern Baptists are working together to provide food for displaced residents and firefighters.

UPDATE 11:26 a.m. Governor Herbert's office reports the Wood Hollow Fire has affected 36,900 acres and is 10-12 percent contained. Canadian air tankers from Cedar City are helping to put out the fire, and two helicopters have also been dispatched. The state is working with livestock owners to keep the animals out of harm's way. No injuries have been reported.

UPDATE 9:42 a.m. The area around Highway 89 that was previously evacuated has been reopened. Fire officials say the wildfire has burned about 25,000 acres and is now 10 percent contained.

UPDATE: 7:19 a.m.: The Wood Hollow fire is four percent contained. 575 homes are in the fire's path. About 65 firefighters were working to extinguish the blaze Monday morning, and more crews are expected later in the day. The State of Utah is expected to receive a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help pay for the firefighting costs.

UPDATE 9:50 p.m.: Sanpete Co. Sheriff's Deputy Eric Zeeman has confirmed to FOX 13 that 25-30 homes have been destroyed in the fire. He is unable to say where those homes are located, but says they are in the evacuation zone. The fire has grown to 39,000 acres.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz told FOX 13's Max Roth he personally witnessed dozens of homes burning near Indianola. He said the homes were located west of Highway 89.

UPDATE 9:30 p.m.: Utah County dispatchers say Blackhawk Campground and all areas south in Payson Canyon in Utah County are being evacuated.

UPDATE 8:40 p.m.: Fire officials tell FOX 13 that the fire has spread to more than 30,000 acres. More resources are expected Monday morning. (via @GeneKennedyNews)

UPDATE 8:05 p.m.:  US-89 is now open between mileposts 305 and 290.

UPDATE 5:50 p.m.: FEMA has approved a Fire Management Assistance Grant for the fire:

This means FEMA will reimburse 75 percent of eligible firefighting costs. Eligible firefighting costs may include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; tools, materials and supplies; and mobilization and demobilization activities.

FMAG does not provide assistance to individual home or business owners and do not cover other infrastructure damage caused by the fire.

UPDATE 5:10 p.m.: 550 homes from the towns of Fountain Green, Fairview and Indianola have been evacuated so far. Officials aren't sure how many people have been impacted by the evacuations.

There are an estimated 359 permanent structures and 213 trailer/shed lots in the evacuated area, according to the Sanpete Co. Sheriff's Office.

The fire jumped over Highway 89 and the road is closed in both directions between Hilltop and Fairview.

The fire has grown to more than 10,000 acres and is only 4 percent contained. One structure has burned, but officials aren't sure what type of structure it is.

There are 65 firefighters on scene using both air and ground attacks with more arriving.

UPDATE 4:55 p.m.: The American Red Cross shelter at North Sanpete HS in Mt. Pleasant is now open (309 East and 700 South). Evacuees are encouraged to report to the shelter, which can accommodate up to 500 people.

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.: The fire has been upgraded to a Type 2, which means more resources will be available.

UPDATE 2:55 p.m.: The Red Cross Shelter for evacuees is being moved to North Sanpete HS in Mt. Pleasant (390 E 700 S) because the Fairview Reception Center is being threatened.

Red Cross officials are still in the process of moving the reception center, so the Sanpete HS center is not yet open.

UPDATE 2:25 p.m.: Mandatory evacuations in place east of Highway 89.

UPDATE 2:10 p.m.: Voluntary evacuations are requested for residents north of HillTop and east of Highway 89.

UPDATE: 12:28 p.m.: All residents west of Highway 89 from Indianola north to the county line are being evacuated.

UPDATE: 11:53 a.m.: Residents in the Water Hollow area are now being evacuated. The public is being advised to use extreme care as winds have picked up.

UPDATE 11:01 a.m.: The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands reports the Wood Hollow Fire has exploded in size to more than 8,000 acres.

FOX 13's Zach Whitney reports about 200 homes have been evacuated, affecting anywhere from 800 to 1,000 people. The Wood Hollow Fire has only 4 percent containment.

UPDATE 10:54 a.m.: A Type 2 incident management team has been ordered to fight the Wood Hollow Fire, bringing with it additional resources.

UPDATE 10:15 a.m.: 200 homes and up to 1,000 people are under mandatory evacuation. There are two crews, one helicopter, two engines, five dozers, and four water tenders fighting the fire. The fire is now 4 percent contained. The fire is believed to be human-caused, but is still under investigation.

UPDATE 8:02 a.m.: The Sanpete County Sheriff reports the Wood Hollow Fire has now exceeded 2,000 acres in size. No word if any structures have been lost, or how many people have been evacuated.


FOUNTAIN GREEN -- Mandatory evacuations were ordered as a 1,500-acre fire ripped through this portion of central Utah, fueled by dry conditions and strong winds.

The "Wood Hollow Fire," was reported around 4:45 p.m. on Saturday and quickly grew between Fountain Green and Indianola. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Sanpete County Sheriff's deputies are now declaring mandatory evacuations for Oaker Hills, Elk Ridge, and Indian Ridge subdivisions. The receiving center is at the Peterson Dance Hall at 55 South State in Fairview.