ST. GEORGE (ABC4 News) — Southern Utah’s second red flag warning of the season is in effect until 10 p.m tomorrow night, affecting Washington, Iron, Beaver, Garfield and Kane counties.
Fire officials in St. George say lightning-caused wildfires are expected and would likely spread rapidly with possible 40 mph winds. Dry thunder and lightning is possible through tomorrow night.
With taller than normal grass after such as a wet winter, fire experts are describing Southern Utah’s vegetation as “biological gasoline,” with flames spreading as quickly as the wind blows.
“All it takes is one spark to ignite a large fire,” said St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker.
While July 5th was the last day to legally discharge fireworks, Stoker said firefighters are responding to calls nearly every day as people continue to use them and often dispose of them improperly.
“It stretches resources thin, so if we do have a large fire, most of our resources will be tied up on those,” added Stoker.
With current conditions, motorists dragging chains on asphalt, driving on under-inflated tires, and tossing cigarettes can potentially burn thousands of acres, according to fire officials.
“Last year was one of our most expensive fire seasons on record, and we don’t want to have a repeat of this year in terms of the number of starts,” said Jason Curry, spokesman for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
If you start a fire, you may be responsible for the costs of putting it out, quickly amounting to thousands or even millions of dollars depending on the scale of the fire.
After last year’s record-breaking wildfire season statewide, officials are calling on residents to do more to prevent them.
The state is recently pushing a new pledge to ‘Spark Change.’