Firefighters urge preparedness and caution as Salt Lake County dries out for the summer

Jun 20, 2023, 10:24 PM | Updated: Jun 21, 2023, 5:38 am

MILLCREEK, Utah — It’s been a mild and wet year, but state firefighters are asking Utahns not to let that deceive them as it starts to dry out for the summer.

“Especially because the last two summers, there has been a fire within the mile — one that way, one that way,” Mary Dickerson, a Millcreek resident, told KSL TV while pointing across the Salt Lake Valley from a trail.

“We were back here with our garden hoses as if that would matter,” added Jack Torrey, another Millcreek resident. “But we were fortunate that the wind blew uphill.”

Utah’s DNR risk explorer interactive map. (KSL TV)

Heading into this summer, neighbors say they’re once again keeping an eye on the hillsides, which state maps show to be at far higher risk than most places in the Salt Lake Valley.

“I use the term deceptively green,” said Karl Hunt, a spokesman with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands. “It still looks green, but it is drying out, and it’s becoming a higher fire potential.”

The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands uses its interactive maps to educate homeowners on risk factors surrounding their properties. In places that are orange and red, there are more reasons to consider measures like defensible space, even in what’s expected to be an average fire season.

“There is still that danger. Even though we’ve gotten a lot of moisture, it doesn’t mean that the danger went away,” Hunt explained.

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Firefighters urge preparedness and caution as Salt Lake County dries out for the summer