WILDFIRE

Fire Safety in Utah is crucial during wildfire season

May 26, 2021, 10:30 PM
Fire Safety in Utah...
(Governor Spencer Cox speaking at the launch of the 'Fire Sense' campaign. Photo: Paul Nelson)
(Governor Spencer Cox speaking at the launch of the 'Fire Sense' campaign. Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – Fire departments across Utah are banding together, urging everyone to be more careful when it comes to fire safety. The state is launching a public safety campaign, hoping it lowers the number of wildfires we see in 2021 within the state.

Wildfire season in Utah 

Just within this calendar year, there have already been over 200 wildfires across Utah. Basil Newmerzhycky with the Bureau of Land Management says it wouldn’t be uncommon to see a few smaller fires at the beginning of the year, but this amount of fires is far higher than what could be considered “normal.”

“It is unheard of to get several fires of a couple hundred or even a couple of thousand acres in March and April, and that’s what we got,” Newmerzhycky said.

Governor Spencer Cox believes the vast majority of the blazes could have been prevented.

“The sad part, and it’s not surprising, is that 219 of those of those 227 wildfires were human-caused,” the governor said.

Fire safety in Utah during wildfire season

This year’s fire season is expected to be extremely bad, partly due to the severely dry conditions in Utah’s mountains. Plus, Governor Cox reported  100 percent of the state is under drought conditions and 90 percent is under extreme drought conditions.

“So far, at least, this last water year was the second driest on record in the state,” he says.

The state is officially launching its “Fire Sense” public safety campaign to urge people to do better when it comes to fire safety.

This campaign will be seen on TV, on billboards and online reminding people how they can be more fire-safe.

For instance, Brian Steed with the Utah Department of Natural Resources says people need to avoid target shooting outdoors since errant sparks can trigger a massive blaze.  He also says people should never use exploding targets.

Steed says, “They’re illegal on all public lands in the state, and they have been a cause of a startling number of fires, statewide.”

All campers are being asked to keep close watch over their campfires until the coals are cool enough to touch.  Steed also says no one should park their hot car over dry grass since that’s sure to start a wildfire.

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Fire Safety in Utah is crucial during wildfire season