Parts Of Utah In High Fire Danger, Officials Concerned About Human-Caused Starts And Dry Conditions
The official start of Utah’s fire season is still two months away, but officials are already concerned about human-caused fires and current weather conditions.
The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for parts of eastern and southwest Utah because of gusty winds and low humidity.
Dry and windy today with numerous Red Flag Warnings in effect. Let's help out our firefighting community today by avoiding fire starts:— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) April 5, 2021
-Avoid dragging tow chains
-Avoid parking cars/ATVs on dry grass
-Cautious with target shooting#utwx pic.twitter.com/Ifp0M4zGSM
NWS also reported record temperatures at 15 locations in the state on Sunday. This comes as a majority of the state is still experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions. Gov. Spencer Cox declared a state of emergency last month because of the drought the state is experiencing.
Temperatures are expected to drop in parts of Utah this week, but critical fire conditions still exist.
Our string of days with record high temperatures is coming to an end, as a cold front will drop high temperatures by up to 25°F for Tuesday. Some snow is also anticipated for the northern Utah mountains, and gusty winds will bring areas of critical fire weather conditions. #utwx pic.twitter.com/rvyudLX0rF— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) April 5, 2021
On the morning of April 5 there were two large fires burning in the state. The Little Pass Fire in Tooele County started this weekend and has burned 1,300 acres. It’s estimated to be 70% contained.
The East Myton Complex in Duchesne County started on March 29. It has burned over 2,700 acres and is now 75% contained. It was human-caused and is under investigation.
There have been 13 wildfires in northern Utah in 2021, and all of them have been started by people, according to a press release from the Bureau of Land Management Monday. They were started by target shooting and exploring targets.
“This year’s lack of precipitation in the West Desert and early increase in human-caused fires is concerning for wildfire officials, law enforcement and land managers,” Geoff Wallin, BLM West Desert District Fire Management Officer, said in the release.
“Vegetation is drying out very quickly after each precipitation event and becoming receptive to ignition only a couple of days later, resulting in high fire potential conditions,” he said.
This year follows a record breaking fire season for human-caused starts.