Where’s the highest wildfire risk in Utah?

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) Firefighters across the state brace for a busy season. Much of Utah is expected to see more wildfires than average flare up this summer.

According to BLM predictions, the West Desert down to St. George has the highest risk of a large wildfire. 

The fuel for wildfires grows tall in the hills behind Salt Lake City. 

“There is a high potential for grass fires this year,” State Fire Management Officer for the Bureau of Land Management Jessica Wade said. 

Utah’s winter snow pack is the highest seen in more than half a decade. More water means more grass, according to Wade. 

“We have a tremendous amount of grass out in our desert areas. It’s thick everywhere. We have grass in places we haven’t had in probably eight to ten years,” Wade said.

The grass is growing the highest in Utah’s West Desert and the east-central section of the state, raising the chance of wildfires growing 100 acres or more. 

“The taller and thicker it is, the more likelihood for more intense fire activity,” BLM Predictive Services Fire Weather Program Manager Basil Newmerzhycky said.

As the winter snow pack increases the chance of fires in the desert, it decreases the risk in Utah’s highest elevations. 

“The longer the snow sticks around, the later it melts, the later the fuels dry out, the later in the season they’ll be susceptible to lightning strikes creating large fires,” Newmerzhycky said.

Conditions aren’t expected to dry out until late July and August. For ways to keep your family safe while preventing wildfires, go to utahfireinfo.gov.

 

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