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Fire season has arrived in Utah, fueled by a wet winter

Jul 1, 2019, 1:39 PM
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The Bureau of Land Management shared this photo of the Timpie Springs fire in Tooele County this weekend.

SALT LAKE CITY — Firefighters and weather watchers say this year’s fire season could be a long one after fires popped up in Salt Lake City, Herriman, Beaver, and Tooele County over the weekend.

The fires started even though there was no red flag warning.

National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Struthwolf says the wet winter caused a lot of grass to grow, which fuels these fires.

“[In] any place that has continuous fine fuels, such as grasses, a reasonably sized fire [can] develop,” Struthwolf says.

The weather has also been windy recently, another fuel for large fires.

Struthwolf says fire season is starting later than normal this year, partly because sagebrush, a natural fire retardant, has not dried out yet.

Salt Lake City Fire Division Chief Ryan Mellor says lightning can cause a fire, but a lot of them are caused by cars or trailers, like one they battled off I-15 this weekend.

“We’re gonna start to see more and more of this kind of thing. It’s not uncommon to have things that fall off trucks or chains that are not connected properly, causing sparks,” Mellor says.

Firefighters are also asking the public not to use fireworks because this is another way large fires have started in the summer.

 

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Fire season has arrived in Utah, fueled by a wet winter