Dry Conditions Prompt So. Utah Fire Restrictions

ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 Utah) Southern Utah remains under strict fire restrictions, due to high fire danger and dry conditions. 
Since igniting on June 13, the Saddle Fire has burned more than 1,647 acres. While it is at 42 percent contained, flames still threaten Pine Valley. 
“It’s been really dry and hot and we are still in a high fire danger,” Marcia Gilles said, public affairs officer for the US Department of Agriculture, US Forest Service – Intermountain Region. 
So this summer, several federal agencies are enacting strict fire restrictions. All of Washington County is included, as well as lands west of Interstate 15 in Iron and Beaver Counties.
“Southwest Utah and northwest Arizona continues to be considerably higher than the rest of Utah. It’s a function of elevation, topography and how the weather pattern is set up,” Mark Rosenthal said, fire management officer for the Arizona Strip District of the Bureau of Land Management. 
National predictions show this area will continue with above-average fire activity through the month of July.
The restrictions include no smoking except in an enclosed vehicle or building, no fireworks or explosives in unincorporated areas, as well as no cutting, welding or grinding of metal in dry vegetation, Most importantly, no fires outside designated structures. 
“Remember to make sure that your campfire is dead out. That means stirring it and putting water on it and making sure that it is cool to the touch so those embers don’t start up in the wind or the heat,” Gilles said. 
“It’s about changing people’s habits. Asking people to think about what they’re doing before they do it when they are out and about and they are involved in anything that could cause a fire,” Rosenthal said. 
The agencies say they’ll consider lifting the fire restrictions when conditions aren’t dangerously dry. 
For people living near the Saddle Fire, an informational meeting will be held at the Pine Valley Fire Station Tuesday at 7 p.m. Crews expect to have it fully contained by Friday. 

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