Gov. Cox warns of extreme fire danger, stretched firefighting resources in Utah

Jul 11, 2022, 6:57 PM | Updated: 9:03 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Spencer Cox and several firefighting agencies across Utah urged residents to be careful as extreme fire danger grips much of the state.

This July has shaped up to be riskier than most because it’s hot, windy, and dry.

A mega-drought has compounded Utah’s fire danger and people caused 23 fires over the weekend.

Kendall Thomas was especially concerned about the Jacob City Fire that started near his home last week.

“It’s really tragic it happened, but luckily nobody’s homes were lost,” he said.

Thomas is also on the Stockton City Council. He said a faulty generator started the Jacob City fire. “You have to be so wise, so smart when you’re around your surroundings because a match, a cigarette burn” has shown how easily things can get out of hand.

“We desperately need every Utahn to act responsibly when it comes to fire prevention,” said Cox.

It’s why he called a news conference Monday with federal, state, and county agencies asking all of us to be vigilant.

“These fires are mostly preventable. As people of Utah, as citizens, we need to be very, very conscious about how we’re recreating, how we’re using fires,” said Joel Ferry the interim director for the Department of Natural Resources.

One of the concerns is how easily a few more large fires could stretch out firefighting resources.

Tooele County Fire Warden Dan Walton said, “We’ve been really lucky to catch fires in the initial attack phase thanks to the hard work of our volunteer firefighters.”

Even though Utah faced drought last year as well, Cox pointed out that we had some rain storms to help calm things down. He said, “So that’s why it’s so critical right now.”

Because one mistake can lead to a huge problem that threatens homes and communities.

Thomas said, “Look what it did. It started this, and we hear it’s going to go over a million dollars, just with this fire.”

More than 180 people were fighting the Jacob City fire Monday.

Three of the largest fires last weekend combined to burn 13,000 acres.

Cox said people who start fires could be held civilly and possibly criminally responsible.

Four men were arrested Sunday in connection to the Halfway Hill fire that deputies said started at their campsite.

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Gov. Cox warns of extreme fire danger, stretched firefighting resources in Utah