SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – With a growing number of wildfires burning throughout Utah, land management officials implemented stage one fire restrictions earlier this week. Now, conversations are happening that stage two restrictions could be put into place if conditions don’t improve.
With a fire season that’s only ramping up in Utah, fire restrictions are being put into place to help reduce the risk of a wildfire.
“Right now, we are seeing unprecedented conditions here in Utah. We’re seeing probably the worst fire season in 30 years,” said Jamie Barnes, the interim director of Utah Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
In stage one – which the state is currently in – people cannot have a campfire outside of an approved area; smoke outside of their vehicle; or cut or weld in dry vegetation.
If and when stage two is implemented, it adopts all the same restrictions from stage one, Barnes said. However, it restricts having a campfire in approved areas, or on unincorporated private lands.
“About 295 of those 330 fires that we have had this year are human caused. And we’re just about 26,000 acres that have been burned,” Barnes said.
A majority of human-caused wildfires spark from campfires, Barnes said. And in a drought year, it’s especially of concern.
“If we keep trending where we’re trending right now, we do expect to see an increase in human-caused wildfires,” she said.
With August-like conditions, Barnes said fuels are drier than in the past, asking for people to be responsible when in the outdoors.
“This is like no other fire season. And again, we would just like to ask you, if you’re going to get out there and recreate, recreate responsibly and use fire sense,” she said.
If a person is caught breaking these restrictions, Barnes said it’s a Class B misdemeanor and a $1,000 fine.