CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Emergency crews tackled a fire that broke out at the Dixie National Forest on Monday afternoon.
When fire crews arrived, the flames had expanded to around 100 acres, burning a variety of debris including timber, litter, understory and logging debris.
Emergency crews responding to the fire included six fire engines and an air attack plane.
The cause of the fire is not yet known and authorities are still investigating the incident.
As the weather grows warmer and drier in Utah, officials are preparing for the increased fire danger that residents will face in the coming months.
“May and June are forecasted to be hotter and drier than normal, likely bringing increased wildfire threat to lower elevations,” says Fire Management Officer Josh Tibbetts. “Roadside fires, abandoned campfires, and debris burning on private lands were the leading causes of human-caused wildfires in 2021 for Utah.”
Firefighters are expecting to face another year of record-breaking outdoor recreation and potential fire hazards.
“There is a good possibility that many areas of southwest Utah and northwest Arizona will again go into fire restrictions this summer,” officials say. “The higher-elevation snow is quickly melting and the conditions for a wildfire will only increase as the summer progresses.”
Fire and wildlife officials are urging the public to practice safety precautions when building campfires outdoors. Human activities remain one of the main causes of Utah fires, according to officials.
Authorities are reminding the public to completely extinguish campfires before leaving and be mindful of where vehicles are parked. A vehicle’s hot exhaust system or even lingering embers can become an instant fire hazard. Shooting targets in dry grass along with igniting fireworks or exploding targets can also spark nearby brush.
“Homeowners are encouraged to do their part to reduce wildfire risk by maintaining vegetation around the home,” experts say. “The spring season is an ideal time for reducing the amount of vegetation around homes and outbuildings. Under favorable conditions, mowers and string trimmers should be used to cut and remove hazardous vegetation before vegetation becomes critically dry.”
For more information on preventing unwanted human-caused wildfires, click here.