WILDFIRE

Fire officials warn of human-caused wildfires as fire season approaches

May 2, 2022, 4:18 PM | Updated: Jun 21, 2022, 9:23 am
A recent fire near the Great Saltair is believed to have been human-caused. Photo credit: Unified Fire Authority

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, and Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson met at the Little Dell Reservoir on Monday to warn Utahns about human-caused wildfires, before the start of fire season.

At the meeting, state fire officials warned about a potentially bad fire season ahead. They said the season may start early in southern Utah.

One possible indicator of an early fire season came from the Executive Director of Utah’s Department Of Natural Resources, Brian Steede. He added that state forecasters are predicting May and June to be warmer and dryer than normal.

“We’re already seeing those conditions start in southern Utah, we expect them to creep north as we continue into the summer season,” said Steede.

“That combination of increased dry conditions and increased human recreation, we very much want to make sure that human recreation is not the cause of the catastrophic fires.”

Additionally, he said human-caused fires were down last year. But, he said that one year is not enough. Fire officials hope that with the early warning, they’ll see the same decrease in human-caused fires this year.

We all have a role to play this fire season

Steede said everyone has a role to play to prevent fires.

“For a large portion of the year, the majority of fires are human-caused,” he said. “Our actions do have an impact on the potential for having catastrophic burns.

“If we’re mindful of that, I’m absolutely confident that Utahns can get ahead of this problem and that we can make sure that we’re not doing stupid things.”

Fire officials asked Utahns to be mindful of cars and trailers causing sparks, and of campfires, fireworks, and target shooting as potential fire starters.

Devon Oldroyd contributed to this report.

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Fire officials warn of human-caused wildfires as fire season approaches