2018 one of the most destructive years for fires

Aug 20, 2018, 9:05 AM | Updated: 9:12 am
2018 may be a record-breaking year for wildfires in Utah...
The Dollar Ridge fire, east of Strawberry Reservoir, on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — 2018 will go down as one of the most destructive years in over a decade for fires in the state of Utah.

In 2017, only 37 structures were destroyed in Utah. So far in 2018, officials estimate ten times as many – 370 – have been destroyed. The closest year Utah has ever seen destruction anywhere near that level was 2012, when 332 structures were lost.

The vast majority of structures lost this year came from the Dollar Ridge Fire, in Duchesne and Wasatch Counties. Jason Curry with the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands says fire behavior this year has been nothing short of explosive.

“The light fuels were abundant, and they were very dry. The heavy fuels are abundant, especially in that area where there’s a lot of build-up of timber – and they’re also very dry,” he says. “We had the highest indices for the explosiveness of the fuels than we had before.”

Curry says investigators still haven’t determined who started the Dollar Ridge Fire, but it was human-caused. Leads, though, he says have been hard to come by.

“We’ve checked the area thoroughly where it started. We’re very certain of where it started because we had aircraft on scene very quickly. There was nobody around. In fact, there are no roads, no trails, no anything leading to that spot,” Curry says.

Trends over the past few decades are a concern, according to National Interagency Fire Center spokesperson Jennifer Jones.

“That is longer fire seasons, fire seasons starting earlier in the spring, lasting longer into the fall. More large wildfires,” Jones says.

All of that, Jones says, has resulted in firefighters changing how they fight fires, in order to keep themselves safe while still protecting the lives and property of others.

“Because of the fire behavior that we’re seeing,” Jones says, “a lot of our firefighters are telling us they are seeing the most extreme fire behavior they’ve seen in their careers that span many decades.”

The center says there has also been an increase in the average number of acres burned every year nationwide.

According to the Deseret News, over 158,000 acres have been charred by fires in 2018 in Utah, but that’s not the record. In 2012, more than 415,000 acres burned.


Today’s Top Stories


Vehicles enter Zion National Park   on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. With Independence Day set for Mond...
Mark Jones

Busy weekend expected at Zion National Park

With it being Independence Day on Monday, Zion National Park officials are expecting a busy weekend at the park and say visitors should expect long lines.
23 hours ago
draper shooting police...
Mark Jones

Party ban becomes permanent for Airbnb

Airbnb announced this week that it is placing permanent ban on disruptive parties. In April, two people died in a shooting at an Airbnb in Draper.
23 hours ago
Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. Photo credit: Uta...
Devin Oldroyd

Hogle Zoo welcomes new Red Panda in effort to conserve the species

Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. It hopes to breed her with Mow Mow, a red panda currently living there.
23 hours ago
A sign at Bluffdale City Hall in Bluffdale on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, encourages people to vote. Pho...
Waverly Golden

Husband of Bluffdale mayor faces charges threatening city councilman

The husband of the Bluffdale mayor is facing charges in connection to threatening and stalking a political opponent.
23 hours ago
This June 20, 2017, photo provided by Chris Wonderly shows Hovenweep Castle at Hovenweep National M...
Curt Gresseth

Supreme Court widens state power over tribes. What does it mean for Utah?

The director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs discusses the recent US Supreme Court ruling and what it means for tribes in Utah.
23 hours ago
A bullet hole in a white wall. The SLCPD urges gun safety practices...
Samantha Herrera

SLCPD says an accidental gunshot almost hit an 8-year-old, offers gun safety reminder to community

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Police Department sent out a reminder about gun safety Thursday morning following an incident earlier in the week where a gunshot reportedly traveled through an apartment wall, past an 8-year-old boy. The boy was unharmed but police urged the community to practice gun safety. The SLCPD said […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
2018 one of the most destructive years for fires