WILDFIRE

Officials urge Utahns to be “fire smart” this season, observe restrictions

Jul 9, 2021, 11:02 AM | Updated: 1:30 pm
utah fire restrictions map...
Map showing current areas with fire restrictions in place courtesy of utahfire.info.gov

SALT LAKE CITY – Fire danger remains high across Utah, with a number of fire restrictions in place amid record heat. 

Officials say with the ongoing historic drought, starting a wildfire is easier than you might think.

The Utah Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal (UWRAP) shows fire danger is moderate to extreme along the Wasatch Front, also in parts of southern and northern Utah.

“South-central and southern parts of our state are extremely dry at this point and have been for a number of weeks,” said Utah State Fire Marshal Coy Porter.

Fire officials: Season on track to break records

The number of human-caused fires is on par to beat previous records. Whether it’s an unattended campfire, a cigarette tossed into dry vegetation, or sparks from a chain, anyone can easily start a wildfire. 

“Any little spark from a chain or the hot undercarriage pieces could certainly start a wildfire,” Porter said. “People don’t recognize how quickly that spreads in those light fuels.” 

Porter adds cooking with charcoal grills can be hazardous. You might think those briquettes you used to cook some burgers or hot dogs cooled down safely, but they can stay hot for days. Many fires begin each year when people toss these still-hot briquettes into dumpsters or trash cans. 

Fire restrictions cover most of Utah

The Utah Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal (UWRAP) shows fire danger for Utah, courtesy of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands

Basically the entire state of Utah faces some form of fire restrictions, Porter said. 

“If a person goes on and looks at the restrictions and restricted areas, almost the entire state is red,” he said.

In areas under Stage 1 restriction, open fires are only allowed in public facilities at campgrounds or picnic areas; people can smoke only allowed in designated areas or in vehicles; fireworks are prohibited; no cutting or welding near dry vegetation; and all off-road vehicles must include a functional spark arrestor.

Under Stage 2 restrictions, Utahns cannot light open fires in any setting and all the prohibitions under Stage 1 also apply.

Read more: Find our full coverage of wildfire season on our Utah Firewatch page

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Officials urge Utahns to be “fire smart” this season, observe restrictions