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Provo Canyon evacuees to return home, road closures as the Range Fire continues to burn

Range Fire Provo Orem Canyon. (Audrey Kissling) (2).jpg
Range Fire Provo Orem Canyon. (Audrey Kissling)

UPDATE: (Sunday, October 18, 2020) -- Provo Canyon is still closed from the Range Fire that is estimated to be 3,000 acres and growing.

Fire officials reported that the fire is making a run to the north; aviation resources in coordination with firefighters on the ground are engaged in suppression efforts.

Westbound Highway 189 through Provo Canyon has a right lane closed from mile post 14, the SR-92 junction to 800 North in Orem because of the fire.

The eastbound lanes of Highway 89 are now open. SR-92 is closed in both direction between Highway 189 and Cascade Springs Drive.

(KUTV) -- The Range Fire is 0% contained. The fire has backed down to within a few hundred feet of Nunns and Canyon Glen parks and has not crossed Highway 189.

Provo will also have poor air quality for the next 24 to 48 hours. Fire officials encourage the public to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed.

"Only run your air conditioner if you have an HVAC system with a recirculate mode or close the outdoor intake damper. Avoid any strenuous activity outside," the fire officials admonished.

The 10-15 families evacuated after the Range Fire erupted in Provo Canyon on Saturday, will be allowed to return home.

Suzie Tenhagen, a spokesperson for U.S. Forest Service, said the fire has moved away from those homes.

The challenge on Sunday will be to keep the fire north of Highway 189, away from Provo, and to the west of Slide Canyon.

Fire bosses have ordered a plane with infrared equipment to better measure the perimeter of the fire. In the latest estimate, the fire burned 1, 500 acres and is zero percent contained.

Several engines are working in Nunns Park and Canyon Glen Park, where flames got within 200 feet.

The fire is human-caused but is still under investigation.

Highway 189 still closed between SR 92 and 800 North in Orem. As an alternate, drivers can take highway 40 to Parleys Canyon.

Firefighters ask that people stay away from the Alpine Loop. It's for local traffic only.

Evacuations and road closures continue in Provo Canyon Saturday night, as firefighters continue to battle the Range Fire.

At last report Saturday night, the fire was estimated to be 15,000 acres with zero containment.

The fire was first reported around noon, starting near a gun range at the mouth of Provo Canyon. Since then helicopters and tankers have been dropping retardants on the flames.

Susie Tenhagen, the public information officer for the Northern Utah Type Three Incident Management Team, says:

Multiple engines from state, federal, and local municipalities actively engaged in the full suppression effort."

A few homes in the path of the fire were also evacuated.

"There's been evacuations of 10 to 15 homes, near the mouth of Provo Canyon,” said Tenhagen.

Firefighters have also done a small burnout operation, to create a defensible space behind the homes in the path of the fire.

Provo Canyon is closed. Traffic from through the canyon on Highway 189 is being rerouted over the Alpine Loop.

"I know that the dry canyon trail. And the Forest Service is actively working on some of the trail closures that are around this area as well,” she said.

Tenhagen said Utah is still very dry, with fuels primed to ignite. She said while hunting and camping is still going on we all must remember that fire season is not over.

Tenhagen says:

Our fire season is kind of turning into a fire year, our conditions are still dry. Though the fire restrictions have been lifted in multiple areas, they haven't lifted everywhere. So folks need to still be careful."

Overnight firefighters will continue to monitor the fire to be ready if anything flares up. They plan to be fighting the fire for the next few days.