2020 wildfire season off to a busy start

Local News

So far in 2020, Utah has seen 237 wildfire starts-- a number not reached until well into July last year.

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) The 2020 wildfire season is off to a busy start. “As of now, we’ve had 237 wildfire starts across the state of Utah,” said Kait Webb with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

Webb says 95% of those wildfire starts have been human-caused.

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One of the latest, the Saddle Fire which crews completely extinguished less than a week ago.

“Our weather is very different than say last year,” said Webb. “So, fields are drier. Temperatures are higher. There’s more likelihood that fires will spread if they do start.”

Firefighters initially responded to the Saddle Fire on May 12th. It was after investigators say a juvenile set the fire along with three others in that area. The aftermath was more than 680 acres burned.

“Vegetation is drying out,” said Webb. “Normally, it wouldn’t be as dry. So, it’s more susceptible to ignition. As far as the types of ignitions we’ve had so far, we’ve had a lot of escape debris burns. We’ve had a lot of roadside starts and escaped campfires.”

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It was in August of 2019 when the Gun Range Fire in Davis County caused evacuations with flames ripping through and destroying multiple homes. Officials say an abandoned campfire was to blame.

For 2020, Webb is reminding people that fire prevention often comes down to recreating responsibly.

“Responsible recreation means that you are never leaving a campfire unless it’s fully extinguished,” said Webb. “It means you are not burning debris if the weather isn’t favorable, and you’re making sure you always have a dedicated water source nearby.”

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