Fire restrictions announced for Utah BLM land, no makeshift campfires
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s current drought conditions and an increase in public land use have sparked the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to enact fire restrictions across Utah to minimize the probability of wildfire.
Beginning on Friday, June 18, restrictions will be in place for Utah land overseen by the BLM as a means to prevent human-caused wildfires. Restrictions are already active in Washington, Kane, Garfield, Iron, and Beaver counties.
The BLM said human-caused wildfires are their number one concern. So far this fire season, 90% or 294 of 326 wildfires have been human-caused, according to the BLM.
“We realize how dry it is out there and can see how the lack of moisture, combined with the heat and high winds, is a source of potential hazards when it comes to human-caused wildfires. Utah is our home and new fires in Utah are already causing road closures and evacuations,” said BLM Utah State Fire Management Officer Chris Delaney in a statement announcing the fire restrictions.
Fires have sparked throughout southern and northern Utah. The East Canyon Fire shut down two main roads as crews worked to contain the spread. Most recently, evacuations were ordered for a fire near Moab.
Utah fire restrictions in place
The restrictions put into place by the BLM include the following:
- No campfires using charcoal, solid fuel, or any ash-producing fuel, except in permanently constructed cement or metal fire pits located in agency-developed campgrounds and picnic areas. Examples of solid fuels include but are not limited to wood, charcoal, peat, coal, Hexamine fuel tablets, wood pellets, corn, wheat, rye, and other grains.
- No grinding, cutting, and/or welding of metal.
- No smoking except within an enclosed vehicle, covered areas, developed recreation sites, or while stopped in a cleared area of at least three feet in diameter (10 feet in areas managed by the Moab and Monticello field offices) that is barren with no flammable vegetation.
- No operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained, and in effective working order as determined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) recommended practices J335 and J350. Refer to Title 43 CFR 8343.1.
- The non-commercial use/discharge of explosives of any kind, incendiary or chemical devices, pyrotechnic devices, exploding targets, pressurized containers or canisters, and binary explosives.
- The use/discharge of any kind of fireworks as defined by this order.
Campfires pose a huge threat according to the BLM, especially fires started in makeshift fire pits. As a way to mitigate the chance of wildfires, the BLM is banning unauthorized campfires on its land. However, campfires are permitted in permanently constructed cement or metal fire pits at BLM campground and picnic areas.
The BLM advises campers to never leave a campfire unattended and to keep the flames at a manageable size. Additionally, always have water nearby to extinguish a fire. For more information on fire safety, visit UtahFireSense.org.
Target shooting will still be allowed in certain areas. The BLM advises people to check the recent vegetation status, along with Red Flag warnings in areas they plan to visit. Fire and weather updates can be found here.
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