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Agricultural burn causes wildfire in Weber County

Local News

WEST WEBER, Utah (ABC4 News) – Another fire sparked in Weber County on Tuesday during what’s already been an eventful fire season for firefighters.

The one-acre fire in West Weber was started by a legal agricultural burn, firefighters say. 

“They can burn ditch banks to allow for irrigation flow. That’s what they were doing today. Clearing out a ditch bank for water,” explained Captain Richard Cooper, Weber County Fire District.

The fire captain said the blaze started out small but spread rapidly due to the environment.

“Generally with the conditions that we’re in and a little bit of wind, it just kind of picked up and they lost containment of it,” he said. “Just be careful where you light that fire. That grass is just tender dry. Just a little bit of a wind shift is all it took and they lost control of that fire.”

Gary Hipwell lives in the area where the fire broke out. He has life-long experience doing agricultural burns but says he doesn’t do them as much as he used to.

“Now with all the sprays that they have, we don’t burn much anymore. At least I don’t. We just spray our ditches and that’s how we keep them clean,” he explained.

Hipwell showed ABC4 News the fields he owns and where his ditch is. He gave our team insight as to how he would do an agricultural burn in his ditch if he needed to do one.

“I spray it then I go through with a hand rake and rake it and then I burn what shrub I get from that,” he said, while pointing out to the ditch.

He wants to remind Utahns to take the proper precautions if you decide to do a legal burn.

“I’ll use a backpack sprayer on a four- wheeler or a field sprayer that holds about 200 gallons of water.”

“I would recommend that during June, July and August you don’t even do them. Just make sure you have your ditches cleaned prior to that,” Hipwell said.

Captain Cooper is reminding everyone that Utah’s weather conditions “are only going to get hotter and dryer,” so be mindful when out recreating, doing legal burns, campfires, or lighting fireworks for the Pioneer Day Holiday.

“It only takes a spark and we’re off to the races and we could have a large wildland fire.”


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