Fire restrictions placed on public BLM lands in Utah

Utah Wildfires
Your homeowners insurance may pay for hotels and food while your home is being repaired after a wildfire.

Your homeowners insurance may pay for hotels and food while your home is being repaired after a wildfire. Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – According to the Utah State Office, public Bureau of Land Management lands are now subjected to fire restrictions beginning June 16.

Officials state that on June 16 at 12:01 a.m., the BLM will implement fire restrictions to prevent losses from human-caused wildfires brought on by extreme drought, high fire danger conditions, and the increased use of public lands in Juab, Millard, Sanpete, Sevier, Wayne and Piute counties.

BLM also informs that on June 18 at 12:01 a.m., all remaining BLM Utah-managed lands will enter restrictions as well. Restrictions will continue for BLM-managed public lands within Washington, Kane, Garfield, Iron, and Beaver counties. 

“Given the extreme drought conditions human-caused fires are the biggest threat to public lands right now, which makes using Fire Sense critical to our communities and businesses that rely on public lands,” shares BLM Utah State Director Greg Sheehan. “If we use Fire Sense and stop human-caused fires before they start, we can help our communities, we can enjoy public lands, and we can save precious firefighting resources and water needed to fight those fires. The best way for you to help is to follow the restrictions. You know the fire drill.” 

According to BLM, the phrase “you know the fire drill” is central to Utah’s new Fire Sense campaign, focused on common-sense practices to help prevent human-caused wildfires. As the team continues to push for fire safety with their “Fire Sense” campaign they hope to encourage and inform people on how they can change behaviors to prevent wildfires in Utah. 

“We realize how dry it is out there and can see how the lack of moisture, combined with the heat and high winds, is a source of potential hazards when it comes to human-caused wildfires. Utah is our home and new fires in Utah are already causing road closures and evacuations,” chimes BLM Utah State Fire Management Officer Chris Delaney. “We need everyone to use Fire Sense to help prevent devastating consequences to resources and communities. Firefighters have risked their lives on hundreds of preventable, human-caused wildfires this year.” 

“A lot of Fire Sense is common sense. Always stay with your campfire and make sure it is out when you are done. Secure your chains and tow straps, so they don’t drag on the ground and cause sparks,” shares Canyon Country District Manager Gary Torres. 

Across the entire Beehive State, as of mid-June, 90% or 294 out of 326 wildfires have been human-caused.

BLM states nearly 300 of those fires could have been prevented and have instead put firefighters, public lands, and communities in danger.

“We are keeping public lands accessible by using basic Fire Sense. Preventing fires helps prevent damages to the natural resources we use for outdoor recreation activities, like camping, mountain biking, and riding OHVs,” Richfield Field Manager Joelle McCarthy states. “If we follow these fire restrictions, we stand a chance, during this drought, at reducing the potential loss of wildlife habitat and forage while managing outdoor recreation.” 

Among the most important restrictions to follow includes campfires. The BLM allows campfires in permanently constructed cement or metal fire pits provided in agency-developed campground and picnic areas.

“When people use those fire pits, they also need to use some Fire Sense. Keep fires to a manageable size. Never leave a fire unattended. Have adequate water available and extinguish campfires using the Drown, Stir and Feel method. Devices fueled by petroleum or liquid petroleum gas with a shut-off valve are allowed in all locations,” BLM warns.

According to officials, the general public should be aware of restrictions regarding recreational target shooters.

“Recreational target shooters should be aware of current weather and fuel (vegetation) conditions, especially Red Flag Warnings. Use safe ammunition and targets and find an appropriate backdrop void of rocks and vegetation,” they add. “Have a shovel and water or a fire extinguisher and only shoot in areas where legally allowed.”

Other restrictions the general public should also keep in mind include:

  • No campfires using charcoal, solid fuel or any ash-producing fuel, except in permanently constructed cement or metal fire pits located in agency-developed campgrounds and picnic areas. Examples of solid fuels include but are not limited to wood, charcoal, peat, coal, Hexamine fuel tablets, wood pellets, corn, wheat, rye, and other grains.  
  • No grinding, cutting and welding of metal. 
  • No smoking except within an enclosed vehicle, covered areas, developed recreation site or while stopped in a cleared area of at least three feet in diameter (10 feet in areas managed by the Moab and Monticello field offices) that is barren with no flammable vegetation. 
  • No operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order as determined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) recommended practices J335 and J350. Refer to Title 43 CFR 8343.1. 
  • The non-commercial use/discharge of explosives of any kind, incendiary or chemical devices, pyrotechnic devices, exploding targets, pressurized containers or canisters, and binary explosives.  
  • The use/discharge of any kind of fireworks as defined by this order. 

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