Pole Creek Fire In-Depth

Hard­ship brings peo­ple to­gether

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Deb­o­rah Goodman

Noth­ing brings com­mu­ni­ties to­gether like a tragedy.

The fires in Utah and Juab coun­ties—the Pole Creek and Bald Moun­tain fires—have been blaz­ing since Septem­ber 6. The com­bined num­ber of acres burned has been es­ti­mated at over 120,000. Over one thou­sand fire­fight­ers from thirty-seven states have en­gaged in the ef­fort. Thou­sands of peo­ple were evac­u­ated from their homes. Cer­tainly the very def­i­ni­tion of a tragedy.

But the en­tire area has seen an out­pour­ing of help from peo­ple of every age and walk of life. School chil­dren have writ­ten cards and let­ters of sup­port to not only the per­son­nel fight­ing the fires, but to kids their age in Elk Ridge and Wood­land Hills who were evac­u­ated and dis­placed.

Ranch­ers whose cat­tle had to be re­lo­cated due to their prox­im­ity to the fires have, in turn, spent days help­ing oth­ers re­lo­cate their cat­tle. It’s been a mas­sive group un­der­tak­ing.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple have taken to so­cial me­dia to of­fer their homes to fam­ily and strangers alike.

But per­haps most telling of com­mu­nity sup­port has been the al­most ex­ces­sive giv­ing of do­na­tions. On Septem­ber 14, news out­lets and so­cial me­dia pages posted lists of needed do­na­tions. Less than two days later, Lieu­tenant Gover­nor Spencer Cox sent out a tweet giv­ing his sin­cere grat­i­tude for the over­abun­dance of sup­plies and of­fers to help.

3 bot­tom on so­cial me­dia and on Satur­day a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the fire crews called. Ar­range­ments were made for the crew to come in and on Satur­day night Cul­ver's fed an en­tire crew of 125 fire­fight­ers in 2 shifts.

"They were grate­ful and it was our plea­sure to do it," Hedin said.

The Pole Creek and Bald Moun­tain fires have com­bined to eat up over 90,000 acres so far in the wilder­ness bor­der­ing South Utah County. It has forced the evac­u­a­tion of more than 2,000 homes, af­fect­ing about 6,000 peo­ple.

Hedin said he's grate­ful for those work­ing hard to save homes and cab­ins. "These guys are up there work­ing long hard hours. It's hot. It's smoky. And some of these guy's are vol­un­teers," Hedin said.  " We just wanted to show sup­port in the com­mu­nity."

Photo: Kjirstin Young­berg

Posters at the fire­fight­ers base camp show the over­whelm­ing com­mu­nity sup­port of­fered fire­fight­ers.

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