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Utah Fire Officials Forecast a Difficult Summer

Map of 2012 Utah Wildfires
Utah Department of Natural Resources

High temperatures and dry conditions have thrust Utah into what could be a difficult fire season. Crews contained the Flood Canyon Fire in Tooele County on Monday and the National Weather Service issued a “Red Flag Warning” for the St. George area over the weekend.

Jason Curry is a Utah State Fire Information Officer. He says because of late rains and higher snow-pack, this summer probably won’t have as many wildfires as last year, but the risk is still above average.

“Most of the state is in moderate to severe drought, and so we’re going to see some fires and we’re most likely going to see some big ones,” says Curry.

Temperatures in Salt Lake City have already reached one hundred degrees. And while the temperatures will drop later this week, that doesn’t mean all parts of the state are free from fire danger. Curry says cold fronts moving in are accompanied by warm southwesterly winds that increase the danger of wildfires.

“For the most part, the storms that we have come in are more harm than good,”  says Curry.

Even though storms usually bring concentrated rainfall, Curry says they also bring high winds and the risk of lightning-caused fires.  

According to the National Climatic Data Center, Utah is the second driest state in the nation. It gets an average of just over twelve inches of rain each year, which makes every summer a potentially busy time for Utah firefighters. 

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