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Front Page » June 23, 2005 » Local News » Fire poses danger on public, private lands
Published 3,755 days ago

Fire poses danger on public, private lands

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Price fire fighters battle to keep the blaze near Gordon Creek Road at bay on Tuesday as the flames roar through grass at about 15 feet high. Wind, heat and low humidity made controlling the blaze difficult for emergency crews as the fire burned in many different directions at once.

The rapidly moving flames roaring through a dry field near Gordon Creek Road and 1550 West on Tuesday clearly demonstrated that wildfires can take place near residential areas in Carbon County.

The June 21 fire did not threaten homes in the Gordon Creek area.

But with more wind and under different circumstances, a similar incident could damage structures and cause injury or death to people as well as animals in the vicinity of the fire.

Annually, more than 140,000 wildfires occur on average. Since 1990, more than 900 homes have been destroyed per year by wildfires.

Two years ago in Arizona and California, entire towns were threatened by fires that started out small before erupting into major blazes.

But Carbon County residents can protect homes and property.

The prevention site can help citizens to understand why a residence is at risk and what they can do to reduce the threat.

The state agency's defensible space checklist recommends that residents in potential fire areas:

•Clean roof surfaces and gutters of pine needles, leaves and branches regularly to avoid accumulation of flammable materials.

•Remove portions of trees extending within 10 feet of the flue opening of a stove or chimney.

•Maintain a screen constructed of non-flammable material over the flue opening of every chimney or stovepipe.

Mesh openings of the screen should not exceed one-half inch.

•Remove branches from trees to a height of 15 feet.

Price firefighters try to keep the fire at bay as the flames roar through the grass at about 15 feet high. Wind, heat and low humidity made the fire stubborn as it burned in many different directions at once.

•Dispose of stove or fireplace ashes and charcoal briquettes only after soaking in a metal pail of water.

•Store gasoline in an approved safety can away from occupied buildings.

•Keep propane far enough away from buildings for valves to be shut off in case of fire.

•Keep areas around structures clear of flammable vegetation.

•Keep all combustibles like firewood, picnic tables and boats away from structures.

•Connect garden hoses to outlets so if an emergency arises they can be quickly used.

•For quick response purposes, addresses should be indicated at all intersections and on structures.

•All roads and driveways should be at least 16 feet in width.

•Have fire tools handy such as: ladder long enough to reach the roof, shovel, rake and buckets for water.

•Each home should have at least two different entrance and exit routes.

In many places around the state, the fire danger grows more each day. Federal, state, county and local officials urge extra caution when visiting Utah's deserts and grasslands this summer. Fire potential is high due to an abundance of extremely tall, heavy fuels not seen for more than 10 years.

Cheat grass that normally grows 5" to 8" tall is now reaching two feet or more with a density of up to 2,000 pounds per acre. Normal density is 800 pounds per acre. Other fine fuels are also heavy and dry.

"Utah's grasslands are ready to burn," said Sheldon Wimmer, Great Basin

[Fire] Coordinating Group chair. "The wet spring has brought relief from the drought while encouraging an unusual amount of vegetation to grow. We need people to be extra careful when visiting public lands this summer."

Fire officials are reminding the public to use spark arrestors on motorized equipment. Put out campfires with lots of water and make sure fires are completely out. Never leave a fire unattended. Be especially careful with light matches and cigarettes, and, most of all, remember to "Do Your Part � Don't Start Wildfires!" Responsible use of our public lands will help keep our state safe from human-caused wildfires.

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