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Fire restrictions loosened at Manti-La Sal National Forest

(An aerial photo of Black Canyon in the Manti-La Sal National Forest shows dead spruce in 2019. Photo: US Forest Service)

PRICE, Utah — The recent storms are sparking big changes at the Manti-La Sal National Forest.  Officials are easing their fire restrictions, but they’re still calling for everyone to be extremely careful with their campfires.

While the storms didn’t really improve Utah’s overall water picture, forestry officials said they did have a significant impact on soil moisture and wildfire potential.  Manti-La Sal National Forest Spokesperson Samantha Stoffregen said this led them to removing certain fire restrictions.

“Because of the amount of rainfall we’ve received, the fuel conditions in the forest are back to near normal conditions for this time of year,” Stoffregen said.

Under the previous guidelines, forest rangers would only allow small gas grills in designated areas, while charcoal grills and wood campfires were prohibited.  However, starting Friday morning, Stoffregen says more kinds of campfires will be allowed.

“We’re going back so that you can have a fire wherever and whatever type of campfire you would like,” she said.

Despite the looser fire restrictions, Stoffregen said campers need to be really careful about what they burn.  She said people still need to stay as far away from vegetation as possible.  Plus, people should check with the forest to see which kinds of toys and fires are off-limits.

Stoffregen said, “Just because we’ve pulled back the fire restrictions doesn’t mean that wildfires can’t happen.  The last thing we want is to see a wildfire occur at the end of summer because someone was negligent with their campfire.”

Also, some things are illegal in the forest year round.

“No exploding ordinances,” she said. “No exploding targets (and) no fireworks.”

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