Amid rash of wildfires, Utah officials on alert as Pioneer Day weekend nears


A sign posted by the Sandy Fire Department on 1300 East near 11500 South in Sandy that lets residents know fireworks are prohibited in the area is pictured on Tuesday, July 21, 2020.

A sign posted by the Sandy Fire Department on 1300 East near 11500 South in Sandy that lets residents know fireworks are prohibited in the area is pictured on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

State has seen nearly 700 blazes so far in 2020, prompting fireworks restrictions

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah firefighters are battling a number of fires going into Pioneer Day weekend, leading officials to urge the public to be cautious while celebrating the holiday with personal fireworks displays.

“There’s no doubt we have high fire danger and high fire potential statewide and unless we get really significant changes in the weather here soon, that’s going to continue,” said Kait Webb, spokeswoman for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. “We are hoping that the public will have firefighters’ backs this weekend and help us reduce the number of wildfires that firefighters need to respond to.”

State Fire Marshal Coy Porter said the state is facing a historic fire season. High temperatures coupled with drought conditions declared in much of the state have led to volatile fire conditions this spring and summer.

The numbers reflect this, too — a total of 300 wildfires were reported by July 2019; so far this year there have been just under 700. According to Utah Fire Info, more than 5,000 homes have been threatened by wildfires in the state already this year.

According to Porter, the state has expended a “considerable amount of money” in suppression costs battling these fires, about 82% of which have been human caused.

With this in mind, Porter urged Utahns to celebrate Pioneer Day responsibly and to be aware of their surroundings when setting off fireworks displays.

“Obviously we want people to enjoy the holiday but be very cognizant …read more

Source:: Usa latest news

      

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