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Officials Urging Utahns to Use Fire Sense During Record Drought

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Some of the extreme fire conditions in Utah right now are comparable to those seen in the ‘Dust Bowl’ period nearly 100 years ago, according to a federal fire agency.

One Utah fire official said Thursday the conditions are the worst in anyone’s recent memory. Officials are especially concerned about public safety and firefighter safety.

“With regards to all of those fires going on right now, firefighter and public safety is a huge concern for us,” said Jamie Barnes, interim director of the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

Firefighters are battling conditions they typically see in July. So, Barnes is calling on everyone to follow the Stage 1 fire restrictions, bring awareness to them and report violations.

“Our fuels have not soaked up much moisture over the winter, and now those fuels are dry and they’re going to burn,” she said. “When they burn, that burning is going to be intense and that burning is going to traveland we’re going to have intense wildfires.”

Her biggest concern: public safety and firefighter safety at those active fires.

“We’re stretching thin as we enter this season,” said Barnes. “We’re off to a fast start the season. So, if we keep it up we’re going to be stretched even thinner.”

State and federal firefighters are promoting a prevention campaign called “Utah Fire Sense”. It’s a website with resources where you can learn how to take precautions to prevent wild fire.

“Be smart,” Barnes said. “We need people to change their behavior. We need to change human behavior and stop what is happening.”

They’ve seen an increase in human-caused wildfires, and hope we can incorporate fire sense into our common sense.

“If people would just have fire sense, then we could change this,” The interim director said.

Go to to learn more about how critical it is that we all are alert to the potential for fire.

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