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PM News Brief: Lego Pistol Kit Nixed, What It Takes To Make Rent & Some Good Wildfire News

A photo of a landscape on fire.
Courtesy of Utah Fire Info Twitter
Utah fire officials are encouraged by the season’s latest trend — recent wildfire activity has been light. This story and more in Wednesday evening's news brief.

Wednesday evening, July 14, 2021


Some Good Wildfire News

Utah fire officials are encouraged by the season’s latest trend — recent wildfire activity has been light. In fact, there have been fewer fires in the past two weeks than during the same period in 2019 and 2020. There were 35 new starts last week, and all but three of them were contained within the first day. The Morgan Canyon Fire is currently the only large fire burning in the state at 509 acres and 60% containment. It started last month because of a fatal plane crash. People are still the leading cause for wildfires in Utah — making up 77% of starts. Abandoned campfires have recently become the top culprit. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Follow KUER’s coverage of Utah’s 2021 Fire Season.

Making The Rent

To afford an average two bedroom apartment in Utah, renters need to earn a little more than $20 an hour and work full-time. That data comes from the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Utah Housing Coalition. That’s about $4.75 more than a typical Utah renter currently makes an hour. In Salt Lake County, rents are higher. Someone would need to earn $23.15 to afford a two-bedroom apartment there. In a press release Wednesday, the Utah Housing Coalition said people should ideally be spending only 30% of their income on housing. Otherwise, they may be sacrificing other necessities. — Tess Roundy

Northern Utah

Lego Puts A Stop To Utah Company’s Pistol Kit

Danish toymaker Lego is telling a Utah-based gun company to stop producing a product that makes a pistol look like it’s covered with the famous multi-colored bricks. Lego said Wednesday the gun maker has agreed to remove the product and not sell anything like it again. Representatives for Provo-based Culper Precision said on Instagram they wanted to highlight what they called the “fun” of shooting sports. The gun company insisted people have the right to customize their property, but it also said responsible gun owners take measures to secure their firearms. — Associated Press

Southern Utah

Rain Isn’t Necessarily A Boon In Drought

The National Weather Service said flash flooding is expected in parts of southern Utah through Wednesday night. Flash floods aren’t unusual there, but this historic drought is exacerbating conditions, according to Jon Meyer, a climatologist at Utah State University’s Utah Climate Center. He said the moisture in the soil is near record lows, and the dry, crusty ground isn’t able to absorb the water when it comes. Flood waters ripped through Zion National Park last month, pushing debris and mud into the nearby town of Springdale. Amanda Rowland, a spokesperson for the park, said flooding can happen quickly in the area’s canyons. The weather service cautions people to avoid low areas and any pooling water when there’s an expected downpour. Read the full story.Lexi Peery, St. George


Supporting Urban Indian Health Care Infrastructure

As Congress continues to debate an infrastructure bill, advocates are calling for them to fund maintenance and repairs at urban Indian health centers. According to the federal Indian Health Service, the majority of Indigenous Americans live in urban settings. But less than 1% of that agency’s budget goes toward urban Indian healthcare. And unlike the rest of the federal Indian Health system, urban Indian clinics can spend that money on staffing, but not facilities, maintenance or equipment. The National Council of Urban Indian Health is calling on Congress to pass legislation that would lift that restriction as part of its infrastructure package. That change would benefit 10 urban Indian health programs in the region — including a limited clinic in Salt Lake City. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

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