LOCAL NEWS

Wildland firefighters urge caution as brush dries, temperatures rise to 90s in northern Utah

Jun 5, 2024, 10:09 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2024, 1:50 pm


SALT LAKE COUNTY — Wildland firefighters on Wednesday urged caution with drying brush in northern Utah as temperatures rise into the 90s in the days to come.

Already, as of Wednesday afternoon, the state had seen 156 wildfire starts since Jan. 1, with 137 believed to have been started by people.

Kayli Guild with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands said multiple recent fires were caused by roadside starts, and crews warned drivers to keep their cars maintained to ensure they don’t spark.

Utah Firewatch

 

At the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, Capt. Paul Story said though hillsides may still look green, the underlying grasses are already drying out leading to deceptive conditions.

“Cheat grass is already changing color,” Story said. “That fine fuel, that continuous cheat grass—that’s actually going to carry the fuel, pre-heat those larger bushes and then catch those on fire as well.”

He said he believed fire season could pick up in northern Utah as soon as the next two to four weeks and last later in the year than normal.

He and Guild both acknowledged after two big winter seasons and a slow 2023 fire season, that there was simply more fuel to potentially burn in wildfires this time around.

“Our main concern is fireworks ignitions,” Story said, noting the July 4 holiday was less than a month away.

State crews also warned about being cautious with target shooting and also not idling cars on top of dry brush.

“We do need to do a better job at paying attention to the smaller things,” Story said.

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Wildland firefighters urge caution as brush dries, temperatures rise to 90s in northern Utah