WILDFIRE

Wildfire conditions could come early, worrying fire officials

Apr 5, 2022, 5:00 AM
wildfire warning sign...
Signs warn campers of fire danger near Soapstone Basin in Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest on Saturday, July 10, 2021. Photo credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah fire officials said the state’s wildfire season could start early this year.

Utah’s Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands said the below-average snowpack created worries that the upper elevations could dry out by late May or early June.

“There’s definitely a potential that we could see it, the rapid snowmelt, and then we see the drying trend in the later part of May into June,” said the division’s Statewide Communications Fire Prevention Coordinator, Kayli Yardley. 

Yardley said that the good news is that soil moisture is up, meaning more water run-off is going to make it to the streams and reservoirs. The bad news is that the snowpack has peaked. 

“It’s only at 75% of its median peak,” Yardley said.

Yardley stressed the importance for people to take fire prevention precautions, even this early in the year.

“It’s not so much a fire season anymore, it’s a fire year.”

She recommended that people out recreating check the chains on their trailers, which can spark on the road. She also reminded people to put out campfires and use proper target shooting backdrops.

“We need to practice wildfire safety all year long, and that’s really the key message,” Yardley said. 

Related: Potential for rockslides, unstable cliff ledges affecting Utah outdoor safety

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Wildfire conditions could come early, worrying fire officials