Despite wet spring, Utah not completely in the clear for wildfires

May 23, 2023, 8:30 PM

red flag warning Uinta Basin...

FILE: Neola (Uinta Basin) fire, August 27, 2005. (Craig Ashby, Uinta Basin Standard via Deseret News)

(Craig Ashby, Uinta Basin Standard via Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Despite the extremely wet winter and spring that’s hit the Beehive State, we’re still not completely safe from wildfires this summer.

North Tooele Fire District spokesperson Jon Smith joined Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News to give Utahns an idea of what to expect this summer.

“We’re going to see a lot of fuel,” Smith says. “It’ll be a different kind of fuel than we’re used to here in the state of Utah.”

According to Smith, there will be a lot of “dry standing” vegetation this summer. He says vegetation will begin to dry out towards the middle of July.

“We’re also going to get a lot of what we call light flashing fuel,” Smith says. “That’s your grass, your leaves [and] your scrub brush, stuff like that.”

He goes on to say that Utahns can expect to see more fires that are faster burning this summer.

Preventing wildfires

When it comes to things Utahns can do to help fire proof their properties, Smith has a few suggestions. These include removing brush from around your home and using common sense among other things.

“So number one in your daily activities, make sure you’re not parking your vehicle in dry standing grass,” he says. “Make sure you’re not using, you know, cutting tools [or] welding, stuff like that, in dry vegetation. Also, make sure that you’re not dragging chains … [or] throwing cigarette butts out the window.”

Additionally, he advises to keep an eye on local firework restrictions as Independence Day comes closer.

“If you are allowed to light fireworks where you’re at, make sure that you’re using them in a clean dry area,” Smith says. “Make sure you’re using them on a paved surface without any sort of grass or trees around.”

Lastly, he advices, make sure your campfires are completely out before leaving them un attended.

Related: Wildfire smoke from Canada could create hazy skies in Utah

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Despite wet spring, Utah not completely in the clear for wildfires