Fiery, smoky summer ahead. Do your part to prevent wildfires from starting

May 23, 2022, 5:00 PM | Updated: May 27, 2022, 12:12 pm
FILE -Firefighters work at the scene of forest fire near Kyuyorelyakh village at Gorny Ulus area, west of Yakutsk, in Russia Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. A warming planet and land use changes mean more wildfires will scorch large parts of the globe in coming decades. That's according to a UN report released Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 that says many governments are ill-prepared to address the problem. (AP Photo/Ivan Nikiforov, File)
(AP Photo/Ivan Nikiforov, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — The West is staring down the barrel of yet another fiery and smoky summer. And nearly 85% of wildfires in the United States are caused by humans. Human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, burning debris, equipment use and malfunctions, negligently discarded cigarettes, and intentional acts of arson.

In a recent episode of Dave and Dujanovic, Mike Erickson, the spokesman with the Utah Division of Forestry and Lands had an update on what wildfire season is expected to look like in Utah. And Karl Hunt, public information officer for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and, State Lands, joined the show as well.


Related: 2021 Utah fire season: hundreds fewer human-caused fires than in 2020

Erickson set the tone early in the conversation. [The fire season in Utah] is still a ways out. We don’t know what we will get, but it’s not looking good.”

Wildfires and you

Before hitting the road Memorial Day weekend, drivers may want to double-check to see if any chains are hanging off the back of their trailers. That piece of free advice comes from Spectrum News in Austin, Texas.

“I love it because I totally did that this weekend. . . . I towed a trailer and I had some pretty long chains on the on the trailer, and I consciously made the effort to shorten them up,” Dave said.

A broken catalytic converter started a fire in Parleys Canyon last August. In fact, cars and trucks ignited 122 fires in Utah last year, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

“Is your tire pressure so low you’re gonna blow a tire and is that going to spark a fire? Are you throwing cigarettes out the window? Do people still do that? I don’t know,” Debbie said.

Related: Provo fire leaves two animals dead

Hunt said roadside fires that start from vehicles are a major source of wildfires in Utah. So check your tires for wear. They can blow out and start a fire, something Dave admitted he learned by experience.

“I was towing a trailer. My tire blew, and I was sending sparks down the road,” Dave said. “As if I was trying to start a fire along I-15. I mean it was incredible.

“By the time I noticed it and got pulled off to the side, I thought I could have started 50 fires for a mile. But I think checking tires, checking the quality of your tire, being aware . . . that was an experience for me.”

Related: How artificial intelligence is helping fight Utah wildfires

“Check your tires, make sure they’re in good condition or not worn out. And that will save you trouble on the road as well as trouble from possibly starting a wildfire,” Hunt recommended.

Be a patriot, not a firebug

Hunt also urged people to be smarter with fireworks.

“Just don’t like fireworks in areas that have a potential to catch fire,” he advised.

Also, he said, defend your property from wildfires by being prepared. Do you live next to an open field of wild grass? Alert your city or county before it burns.

“Being aware of those trouble areas and doing some work to mitigate those fuel risks does go a long way to helping protect those homeowners,” Hunt said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 


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Fiery, smoky summer ahead. Do your part to prevent wildfires from starting