How high heat can impact wildfires

Utah Heat

UTAH (ABC4) – Utah is experiencing a very potent early season heatwave, but has this had any impact on our wildfires?

According to Kayli Yardly, a fire prevention specialist with Forestry Fire and State Lands, it does.

“So with the warming temperatures, it’s causing the fuels to dry out a lot quicker. We’re going to have a little bit more fuel aridity, that’s going to be really increasing. Then, you know, when we get these fires starts and things ignite, they’re going to burn more readily and more intensely.”

Creating a prime environment for wildfires to easily start or for existing ones to flourish.

This comes from the very hot and dry air we are seeing, with moisture being wicked away from plants and soils.

“The hot air, you got to think of it like a thirsty sponge. If you’re not already at 100% humidity, it’s going to soak up whatever water is available right” says Yardly.

But the hot and dry air is not just affecting our fine fuels, it can also pose a major risk for our wildland crews fighting the blaze.

“So the biggest concern with the heat for us of course is firefighter safety. Keeping our firefighters hydrated on the line, making sure that they aren’t overexerting, because this kind of heat actually can be deadly to firefighters and they are our first priority” says Adrienne Freeman, a public information officer for the Bear Fire near Helper, Utah.

As we continue to see this dry and hot pattern continue, officials are asking everyone to use ‘fire sense’ while recreating outdoors.

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