SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Utahns are looking back at 2022 with hope for the future, as data from National Interagency Coordination Center shows a dramatic decrease in state wildfires.
According to their report, the state of Utah had experienced a total of 27,245 acres affected by wildfires during the 2022 season. This number is a 55.23% decrease from numbers seen in 2021, which had 60,863 acres touched by wildfires.
These findings are promising, as it shows a continued pattern of improvement year over year here in Utah.
In 2020, the state saw an overwhelming 329,735 acres burned with a total of 1,493 fires started. That includes 1,154 human-caused fires, which is a far cry from the 2022 season, which had seen only 476 that were human-caused.
Even more promising, fires caused by lightning in 2020 spread across a total of 223,899 acres versus just 2,964 acres in 2022.
What these numbers mean for the year ahead is very telling, as Utah is already showing increases in overall snow totals — currently displaying the state at 158% of normal snowpack in data produced from Snoflo.
The extra levels of moisture this season are already making a difference, as the wildfire risk as of today appears to be very, very low across the state.
But according to Bob Bedore, Forecaster with ABC4 Utah, the next few months will play heavily into what we can expect for the rest of the year. While our state is experiencing more moisture now, another summer of dry conditions could lead to more wildfires down the road.
To ensure a safe and wildfire-free future, the Utah Department of Natural Resources as part of its Utah Fire Sense initiative has provided various tips and guidelines for residents and visitors to follow.