ALL NEWS

Huge spike in human-caused fires as fire season starts in Utah

May 27, 2020, 7:37 AM | Updated: 7:38 am

human caused fires Utah...

FILE -- Bountiful Gun Range Fire Photo: Colby Walker | KSL Newsradio

SALT LAKE CITY – Firefighters across Utah are warning about a huge spike in human-caused fires as they prepare for an above-average fire season in the state. 

Utah’s state forester Brian Cottam said during a virtual news conference on Tuesday that people have started the overwhelming majority of fires so far this year, and the number of fires they have had to put out has also grown. 

“Already this year in this state, all lands, we’ve had 237 wildfires. That’s compared to 67 last year at this time. That’s a four-time increase in the number of fires, and 95% of them are human-caused,” Cottam said. 

About 67% of all fires last year were human-caused. 

Firefighters are also worried because it has been so dry recently. Utah is also predicted to have a warmer than normal summer. 

Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Supervisor David Whittekiend agreed that human-caused fires are a problem and pointed to some close calls they had over the weekend. 

“Over Memorial Day weekend, we had well over a dozen campfires that were abandoned that our folks put out. So, the public taking care to put out their fires, to not do things that will cause fires is going to be very key,” Whittekiend said. 

Every agency at Tuesday’s news conference say they will continue to reduce fuels and clear brush, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s unlikely they will do controlled burns this year because of the hot and dry weather. 

Cottam also pointed out the financial cost of all these human-caused fires. 

“None of these fires need to happen. And so, all of the costs, all of the expenses that we pay through our tax dollars: federal government, state government and, yes, local government; they don’t need to happen,” Cottam said.          

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Alpine School District split...

Adam Small

Consulting firm recommends Alpine School District split in two

After reviewing the Alpine School District, MTG consulting recommends the district split into two separate districts.

39 minutes ago

FILE - Former film producer Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Crimina...

MICHAEL SISAK Associated Press

New York appeals court overturns Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction from landmark #MeToo trial

Harvey Weinstein's 2020 rape conviction has been overturned citing bias from the judge that presided over that case.

1 hour ago

FILE - Chicago's iconic Rat Hole along the 1900 block of West Roscoe Street in the Roscoe Village n...

RICK CALLAHAN and KATHLEEN FOODY Associated Press

Chicago’s ‘rat hole’ removed after city determines sidewalk with animal impression was damaged

CHICAGO (AP) — The “rat hole” is gone. A Chicago sidewalk landmark some residents affectionately called the “rat hole” was removed Wednesday after city officials determined the section bearing the imprint of an animal was damaged and needed to be replaced, officials said. The imprint has been a quirk of a residential block in Chicago’s […]

2 hours ago

former president trump, immunity...

 MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

No one is above the law. Supreme Court will decide if that includes Trump while he was president

Former President Trump's lawyers argue that former presidents are entitled to absolute immunity for their official acts.

2 hours ago

A composite sketch of a woman who the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's h...

Cassidy Wixom, KSL.com

Duchesne County asking public to help identify woman whose remains were found 21 years ago

The Duchesne County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in identifying the remains of a woman.

3 hours ago

Visitors stand at the closed gates leading to the Eiffel Tower, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 in Paris....

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The Paris Olympics might stink

When it rains in Paris… things take a dark turn.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Huge spike in human-caused fires as fire season starts in Utah