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Front Page » May 7, 2002 » Local News » Wildfire concerns mount in Utah
Published 4,907 days ago

Wildfire concerns mount in Utah

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The statewide drought situation has left vegetation extremely dry and conditions are especially hazardous in the central and southern regions of Utah.

Officials continue to urge residents across the state to exercise caution with all forms of fire.

"In my 30 years, I can't remember this many fires so early in the year that have burned with such intensity," pointed out Dave Dalrymple, fire management coordinator for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

"The situation is even more serious because all the resources necessary to fight these fires are not available this early in the season," continued Dalrymple.

A recent blaze near Parowan in Iron County and another in Washington City last month are examples of fire behavior not normally seen until late June or July.

In addition, fire fighting crews have responded to dozens of smaller incidents occurring in the southern and central areas of the state.

"Even with additional moisture it just won't make much difference," added Dalrymple. "The ground and vegetation is just so dry that it would take at least a couple of above-average water years to reduce the threat."

Citizens should exercise caution to ensure campfires are completely out and people should refrain from carelessly discarding smoking materials.

Other frequently overlooked causes of wildland fire include vehicle catalytic converters and exhausts on all-terrain vehicles.

A closed fire season has already been instituted in Beaver, Garfield, Washington, Iron and Kane counties.

The closed fire season designation will remain effective through Oct. 31.

A closed fire season requires residents to secure permits before conducting any type of open burning activities in the designated areas.

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