WILDFIRES

State Officials Warn Of Extreme Wildfire Potential Throughout Utah

Jun 28, 2020, 4:21 PM
Fire burns on Traverse Mountain in Lehi, Utah.(Ladd Egan, KSL TV)...
Fire burns on Traverse Mountain in Lehi, Utah.(Ladd Egan, KSL TV)
(Ladd Egan, KSL TV)

LEHI, Utah — State officials held a briefing at the command center of the Traverse Fire in Utah County amid windy conditions to express concern about wildfire safety, and the need of local municipalities and residents to do what it takes to avoid starting new fires.

Local fire officials met with Gov. Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox to assess the damage from the Traverse Fire and discuss the potential wildfire danger this season.

The group held a press briefing just after 3 p.m. Sunday.

Lehi Fire Chief Jeremy Craft said the Traverse Fire was “definitely a preventable fire.”

The Traverse Fire broke out around 11 p.m. Saturday. Neighborhoods in Lehi and Draper were evacuated as the flames quickly moved down the foothills of Traverse Mountain.

It was initially estimated to be 1,000 acres, but was lessened to 450 acres.

Fire officials said it was caused by someone lighting fireworks in an unauthorized area, and outside the dates set by the state.

“Let’s not be unwise with the way we’re treating fireworks, with the way we’re dealing with fire restrictions,” said Jess Anderson, Utah Commissioner of Public Safety. “Pay attention to those, and be strict with them.”

Craft reminded Utahns they could only light fireworks during a four-day window, starting July 2 and ending July 5.

Gov. Herbert spoke briefly about the potential for more wildfires across the state, adding he anticipated it may be a very difficult summer with wildfires.

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox described the experience with the fire overnight. He said the situation was really desperate last night, but firefighters sprung into action and several municipalities supported them in their efforts. Many thought they would lose structures in the blaze.

“The way everyone comes together, that’s what makes Utah so special,” said Cox.

Cox went on to say Utahns needed to work together to get through the next few months.

Craft said he estimates the Traverse Fire was only 26 percent contained as of 3:15 p.m. Sunday.

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State Officials Warn Of Extreme Wildfire Potential Throughout Utah