ST. GEORGE (ABC4 News) – Low humidity, gusty winds, and high temperatures in St. George have brought on the first red flag warning of the season Friday.
Fire crews in Washington County said they’re bracing themselves for this year’s potentially devastating fire season, and Friday’s red flag warning means it could be a very busy weekend for emergency teams, according to St. George Fire Department Battalion Chief Robert Hooper.
Hooper said Washington County fire officials are expecting their worst fire season in over a decade.
“The fuel is dry, humidity is down, and temperatures are up, so the only thing that’s missing this weekend is an ignition source,” Hooper said. “We’re so dry now that any spark can start [a fire], accidental or intentional. There’s many different causes we could be looking at.”
Gusts could reach up to 40 miles per hour in St. George Friday, so emergency teams said any fire starting could be catastrophic.
Fire experts say more than half of wildfires in Utah this year have been started by people, and most were accidents.
Hikers at Snow Canyon State Park said they sometimes see people dispose charcoal from campfires before they’re completely out or watch smokers flick cigarettes out of sight in unsafe areas.
“You do smell cigarette smoke and you always wonder where they’re putting out their cigarettes,” hiker Steve Tanner said. “Hopefully they’re being responsible.”
Hooper added that even trailer chains and flat tires can cause as many fires on roadways as unattended campfires and fireworks.
The Red Flag Warning remains in effect until 9 p.m. Friday.