WILDFIRES

Caution Urged After Preventable Human-Caused Fires Peak Early

Jul 1, 2020, 7:24 PM | Updated: 8:53 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Firefighters have already responded to more preventable, human-caused fires in Utah this early in the season than ever before. Fire managers have urged everyone to be cautious with anything that could spark a blaze, because fire danger is peaking again just in time for the holiday weekend.

It rained Tuesday, but the heat has already returned, and fire managers expect dangerous wildfire conditions to continue.

“As soon as it starts to heat back up, and dry up, that fire danger bumps back up very quickly,” said Kait Webb, prevention and fire communications coordinator for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

This past weekend, several human caused fires put people’s lives and property at risk.

“Fire danger is still extremely high across the state,” said Webb. “Fireworks, abandoned campfires, and vehicles are sparking a lot of fires.”

Officials said the Traverse Fire in Lehi that came dangerously close to homes was started by fireworks in a restricted area. Investigators believed the Knolls Fire that destroyed one home in Saratoga Springs was also human-caused.

“We are seeing far more human-caused fires than we normally do, and it’s really a mixture of a lot more people out recreating, paired with careless actions and not paying attention,” said Webb.

Fire restrictions were already in place in much of Utah, and could be expanded as the heat intensifies.

“We are far busier this time of year than we usually are,” she said.

Crews have responded to 537 fire starts already this summer. Last year at this time, it was 184 starts. Two years ago, the costliest wildfire season in Utah history, there were 450 starts at this time. This season, 82 percent of the fire starts this summer have been human caused.

“Just looking at this past weekend, we had 37 starts over the weekend, 20 of which were human caused,” said Webb.

Those fires put the public, property, and firefighters in danger.

“That was unnecessary,” she said. “It’s something we can prevent.”

Fire managers do not want firefighters or the public anywhere near this kind of blaze.

“We had really extreme fire behavior, significant fire growth,” she said. “So, all of those first responders were putting themselves in danger and a lot of those fires were human caused, and could have been prevented.”

Fireworks are not legal to shoot off until Thursday, July 2, and are legal in unrestricted areas through July 5.

Make sure you know the fire restrictions where you are for fireworks and campfires, said Webb. When winds are gusting, call off the fire and fireworks.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Wildfires

(Karah Brackin/KSL TV)...
Jed Boal & Karah Brackin, KSL TV

Gov. Cox, officials ask all to prevent wildfires during holiday fireworks season

Gov. Spencer Cox, state leaders and local officials are asking everyone to celebrate responsibly and help prevent human-caused wildfires this holiday fireworks season and beyond.
4 days ago
(Kane County Utah Sheriff's Office)...
Madison Swenson, KSL TV

Evacuations ordered due to Left Fork Fire in southern Utah

The Bryce Woodlands Estates have been ordered to evacuate due to the Left Fork Fire burning in Kane County.
6 days ago
Daniel Encinias stands next to the ruins of his home, which was destroyed by the Hermits Peak/Calf ...
Jennifer Henderson and Ella Nilsen, CNN

US Forest Service admits errors in routine prescribed burn that sparked largest fire in NM history

A Chief's Review of New Mexico's Hermits Peak Fire released Tuesday found that U.S. Forest Service errors during a routine prescribed burn contributed to the largest wildfire in New Mexico history.
6 days ago
Firefighter watching for any embers across the line during a tactical firing operation at night on ...
AAMER MADHANI, Associated Press

Biden signs off on hefty pay raise for federal firefighters

President Joe Biden has signed off on giving federal wildland firefighters a hefty raise for the next two fiscal years.
6 days ago
...
Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV

SLC Fire transitions to wildfire response preparedness for summer season

Salt Lake City firefighters are gearing up for what could be a dangerous holiday fire season, after getting a taste Sunday when a wildland fire blew up to 200 acres south of Interstate 80. 
7 days ago
New power poles have been put in place along SR-201 after two wildfires sparked on Friday, damaging...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Fire damages power structures, threatens state park and marina

Two fires that burned Friday near the Great Salt Lake — along state Route 201 and Interstate 80 — are now contained. But Rocky Mountain Power is still working to repair equipment damaged by the flames.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Caution Urged After Preventable Human-Caused Fires Peak Early