Utah Governor Gary Herbert inspects scope of two Utah County fires, which have burned 80,000 acres

Posted at 10:24 PM, Sep 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-16 00:24:14-04

UTAH COUNTY, Utah  -- Governor Gary Herbert flew over the Pole Creek Fire and Bald Mountain fires Saturday.

“These two fires are the top two fires of the nation,” Gov. Herbert said.

Herbert said the terrain looked steep through the smoke. After a briefing with fire officials Herbert said what makes these two fires “a little more scary,” is their close proximity to housing—reporting about 6,000 people evacuated.

“I feel better today than I did last night,” said Herbert. “I feel better today because I think we have a good plan in place.”

Earlier Saturday Morning, Utah County officials held a press conference discussing their plans for fighting the fire.

Utah County Commissioner Vice-Chair Bill Lee declared Utah County in a state of crisis, hoping to bring more attention to the circumstances and with it help and resources.

“We’ve got to have all hands on deck,” Lee said. “We’ve got to have cooperation with the citizens, with these great partners that we have here, and let’s get this fire put out and get this emergency over with.”

Lee also said he is looking at this fire as a “crime scene” because of the failure in Federal Government policy.

“They knew this fire was out there but nevertheless, the fire was supposed to be contained, controlled,” Lee said. “They let it smolder around for weeks before it just blew up into this.”

Conversations on policy, Lee said, will need to happen on local, state and national levels once the fire is put out.

“It’s affecting the lives of individuals here,” Lee said.

Herbert agreed that this was not the appropriate time to point fingers of blame towards agencies or people.

“There will be time to be very analytical about this, we will learn a lot,” Herbert said. “Mistakes may have been made and we will learn from those mistakes and certainly everyone agrees there’s room for improvement… This is the time to unite together and put out the fire.”