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Utah fire officials: Use FireSense to avoid wildfires

Jun 10, 2022, 6:40 PM | Updated: May 21, 2023, 4:42 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — As we head into the hottest, driest days of the season, fire officials are urging us to use our FireSense, or we risk starting wildfires.

Each year, our vehicles and other equipment start hundreds of wildfires in Utah, but two of the most common causes can be easily eliminated.

In northern Utah, wilderness grasses are starting to dry out quickly, and warm, windy weather will only speed that up. That’s why fire officials are urging everyone to be alert to any action that could start a fire.

“Every time it gets warmer, the fuel gets dryer, which means easier ignition,” said Karl Hunt with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands.

With the arrival of this heat wave, that’s happening statewide, right now.

“So, when people are out and about, they need to be conscious that there is dry fuel out there, and it’s getting dryer,” Hunt said.

He said Utahns need to use their FireSense. That public safety campaign recognizes that every Utahn has a role to play in using good judgment to avoid starting wildfires.

“We’re calling it FireSense,” Hunt said. “But it’s really common sense.”

That includes intentional actions that limit human-caused wildfires, like making sure a campfire is completely out, and cool to the touch, before leaving it. If your car overheats, and some will this weekend, do not pull off onto dry grass.

“People have bought into it,” he said. “I believe Utahns are doing what they need to be doing to help us limit those human-caused wildfires.”

If you’re pulling a trailer, don’t let the safety chains sag and drag on the road.

“That creates a spark, and if you drag those on the side of the road, it creates an opportunity for something to happen,” Hunt said.

The Dutson Fire this week in Juab County started that way, and burned 30 acres before firefighters put it out.

Wildfire breaks out along I-15 after sparks come off car near Mona

A simple twist of the chains typically lifts them off the road.

“Use your FireSense. Do the intentional things that can help limit human-caused wildfires, and that will go a long way throughout the entire summer.”

Fire restrictions are already in place in some areas in southern Utah. If you plan to start a campfire this weekend, find out whether it’s allowed.

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Utah fire officials: Use FireSense to avoid wildfires