Chopper 5 shows why firefighters are on high alert for Fourth of July weekend

Jul 2, 2022, 10:38 AM | Updated: Jul 3, 2022, 2:19 am

SALT LAKE CITY — With plenty of dry brush fireworks, and possible thunderstorms, much of the Wasatch Front is primed with the potential for wildfires.

With a view from Chopper 5, it’s easy to understand why firefighters are concerned.

“We’re primed right now with a lot of these yellow grasses that we can see right here,” Salt Lake City Fire Department Captain Shaun Mumedy said.

He joined KSL in Chopper 5 for a bird’s-eye view that showed dry fuels all over the Wasatch Front.

“All of this is just primed for a misuse of a single firework to really set it off,” Mumedy said.

He hopes all of us will pitch in to keep this Fourth of July safe. The risk is visible along the hillsides and into Emigration Canyon.

“If we do have an incident up one of these canyons, it is going to stress our resources,” he said.

Part of preventing a huge fire is up to homeowners to build at least 25 feet of defensible space. He pointed out one such home from the air.

“I mean, you’ve got a few big trees around, but you certainly have enough space where if we had to get in and protect that house, we’d certainly have a lot of maneuverability with our hose lines around that house.’

All of us need to pitch in not only to protect our own homes but our neighbors as well.

Chopper 5 landed on Ensign Peak where there are now many weeds. Even though we’ve had some rainstorms recently, a lot of the weeds have dried up. It’s the same all around the hills and around homes.

“Because it is so dry, it becomes an ignition source for really anything, a stray firework, campfires, anything really can set this stuff off,” Mumedy said.

He also said citizens can’t be careless. It’s why there are off-limits zones all over Utah and why they need to be observed.

Beyond the typical Independence day worries, Utah has a chance of thunderstorms too.

“So the potential of fires as those storms roll across and go over those foothills of igniting some of these dry grasses already is extremely high,” Mumedy said.

These are all reasons to watch out for ourselves, our neighbors, and the firefighters who will be working to keep us all safe this weekend, according to fire officials.

“We just don’t have the resources along the Wasatch Front here to mitigate numerous events all at once if that decides to happen,” Mumedy said.

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Chopper 5 shows why firefighters are on high alert for Fourth of July weekend