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AM News Brief: High Winds Normal, Mask Exemption Cards Fake & Wildfire Cleanup Funds Proposed

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Utah Department of Health / KUER
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Thursday morning, April 15, 2021

Northern Utah

High Winds Are Normal

High winds that whipped the Wasatch Front Wednesday morning were part of a weather pattern known as a Wasatch downslope windstorm. It’s the same type of storm that damaged homes, downed trees and left tens of thousands without power in Salt Lake City last September. Meteorologist Brock Burghardt with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City said historically these storms aren’t that rare, but there was a “drought” of them from 2002 to 2019. He said three windstorms in September, January and this week are closer to a normal season. They typically peak between November and April. — Elaine Clark

Fake Mask Exemption Cards

The Utah Department of Health has issued a fraud alert warning about fake mask exemption cards. The department said people have been presenting fake cards at businesses and schools. They have a deceiving state of Utah seal on them, but neither the state nor local governments issue these kinds of cards. — Pamela McCall

Southern Utah

Fire Part Of Forest Management For A Millenium In Utah

A new study by researchers in Utah found that Indigneous people used fire over a thousand years ago to improve forest health around Fish Lake. “I was dumbfounded when our models suggested that it's people,” said lead author Vachel Carter of the University of Utah. “There was really no climatic signature at all.” The study adds to a growing body of research that shows Indigenous people managed forests with fire before Europeans arrived in North America. Findings like this challenge the idea of nature as untouched by humans, said Justin DeRose, a Utah State University ecologist who worked on the study. He said that could have implications for land managers. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region/Nation

Romney and Curtis Back Funding For Wildfire Cleanup

Two Utah Republican lawmakers are joining a bipartisan effort to re-introduce emergency legislation related to wildfires. Sen. Mitt Romney and Rep. John Curtis signed on with lawmakers from Colorado and California. The MATCH Act is meant to make it easier for communities to recover from wildfires. Romney is supporting the legislation because he said there were bureaucratic setbacks for Utah and Duchesne counties after wildfires in 2018. Curtis said the longer it takes to clean up, there are more costs and extra work. The MATCH Act would fund more reliable rehabilitation activities right after wildfires occur. — Pamela McCall

Stewart Supports Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said he supports President Joe Biden's withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. In a statement yesterday, he said it’s "well past time" to bring the troops home. The Air Force veteran called the U.S. presence in the region a "needless war." Biden announced plans to have all troops out by Sept. 11, 20 years since the attack on the Twin Towers. The Trump administration had set a May 1 deadline for withdrawal. There are about 2,500 soldiers still in Afghanistan, down from about 100,000 in 2011. — Pamela McCall

More Children Lost A Parent During The Pandemic

A study out of the University of Southern California found a 20% increase in parental loss during the pandemic compared to a typical year. Out of every 13 COVID-19 deaths, one child loses a parent. The analysis found 75% of those children were between the ages of 10 and 17, and black children were disproportionately affected. Researchers said children who have suffered a parental loss are more likely to drop out of school, battle depression and are more likely to suffer child abuse. — Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau