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Firefighter warns wet winter created more fuel for summer wildfires

Jul 8, 2023, 10:00 PM | Updated: Jul 9, 2023, 6:52 pm

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah — After a record-breaking wet winter and rainy spring, temperatures are finally rising in the State, and with the heat comes the dry air.

“We live in a beautiful area, but we also live in an area that when it’s dry, it’s pretty risky,” Kelly Bird with Unified Fire Authority, said.

The wet winter and rainy spring caused the trees and other plants to grow taller, which Bird said means there’s more fuel for wildfires to burn on.

“There’s a bigger threat down the road for when they dry out,” he explained.

Most fires across the nation are man-made, Bird said, and if we can cause it, that also means we can prevent it.

In a social media post, Utah Governor Spencer Cox reported a 60% reduction in human-caused wildfires in the Beehive State during 2022.

Bird said it’s the everyday, common sense tactics that help prevent a wildfire, like having a plan and water source available and making sure the fire is completely out before leaving.

“If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave,” Bird said.

Ensuring kids are supervised while helping around the fire and noticing surrounding grasses and trees hanging over the campsite can make all the difference — it’s why designated campgrounds were created.

“Places like this are relatively safe,” Bird said.

If, after all, you do, the fire burns out of control, he suggests calling for help as soon as possible.

“You want it to get help on the way, and then if you can extinguish it, go ahead and try,” Bird expressed.

Unified Fire Authority responds to both the Cottonwood canyons and Emigration Canyon.

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Firefighter warns wet winter created more fuel for summer wildfires