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PM News Brief: Wildfire Season Start, Washington County Water & Free Summer Meals

A photo of firefighters headed toward a smoky landscape.
Courtesy Utah Fire Info Twitter
Utah’s official wildfire season started just over a week ago and it’s already off to a busy start. In the last week, there have been 42 new starts. This story and more in Wednesday evening's news brief.

Wednesday evening, June 9, 2021


Utah Migrant Community Reacts To SCOTUS Ruling

Temporary protection status will not grant a pathway to citizenship for people who came here unlawfully. The decision came after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this week. Kendall Moriarty, an immigration lawyer with Perretta Law, said the court's decision on temporary protection and citizenship made it national law but it just confirmed what already existed in the state. “For us here in Utah, we were kind of like, ‘Yeah, of course, that's what it is,’” she said. “But for other people — that for other jurisdictions — that will be a huge, huge change in policy.” Read the full story.Ivana Martinez

Utah Wildfire Wednesday Statistics

Utah’s official wildfire season started just over a week ago and it’s already off to a busy start. In the last week, there have been 42 new starts. Across the state, there are currently five active fires that have burned at least 400 acres. So far this year there have been 326 fires that have burned over 12,000 acres. Ninety percent of them have been human caused. A red flag warning is in place for almost all the state until Thursday night. Any fires that start can spread rapidly because of the dry and windy conditions. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Southern Utah

Conserving Water In Washington County

The Washington Water Conservancy District is increasing water pricing. It’s also encouraging conservation because of the exceptional drought in the area. The district is the wholesale provider for the county and doesn’t have the power to pass and enforce restrictions. Instead, they’re asking municipalities to adopt ordinances related to landscapes in new developments and watering times. They’re also asking cities to require car washes to recycle water onsite. The district has put excess surcharges in place. They start at $1 per 1,000 gallons for the county’s highest users. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Meeting With President Biden Over National Monument Enlargements

Utah’s Congressional Delegation wants to meet with President Joe Biden before he makes changes to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. It comes after Interior Secretary Deb Haaland submitted her recommendations for both monuments last week. Biden is considering enlarging them after they were shrunk by former President Donald Trump in 2017. The delegation is asking the president to work with Congress on any changes to the monuments, rather than use executive action. They are also asking Biden to release Haaland’s recommendations to Congress. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Northern Utah

Salt Lake County Surveying 800 Miles Of Road Conditions

Salt Lake County is planning to take stock of the condition of about 800 miles of road over the course of just a month. A project this size would normally take them three years, but the county contracted a specialized van for the project to speed things up. "When they're done with that, they give us that data," said Kevyn Smeltzer with Salt Lake County Public Works Operations. "We evaluate it [and] put together a five year pavement maintenance plan. The purpose of that is to make sure we make the best use of the funding that we have available." — Sonja Hutson

Salt Lake City School Districts Free Summer Meal Program

Salt Lake City School District’s Summer Meals program kicked off Tuesday. It provides free food to all children in the district ages 0 to 18 while school is not in session. The meals will include lunch and breakfast. They will be pre-packaged to help protect students and staff from COVID-19. Parents or students can pick up the grab and go meals Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. They can do so at 18 locations throughout the school district. — Tess Roundy


Reducing Wild Horses On Public Rangelands

President Joe Biden’s pick to run the nation’s top public lands agency told senators this week she supports reducing the number of wild horses on public rangelands. The administration has proposed a $35 million budget increase for the Bureau of Land Management to tackle the issue. It says it will continue funding sterilization, relocation and rehoming efforts for wild horses. It does not support killing them. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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