Firefighters are responding to an all-time high number of preventable, human caused fires, officials say. “Fireworks and abandoned campfires are causing a lot of problems for firefighters in Utah right now,” Fire Management Officer Brett Ostler said June 30.
“A significant increase in public outdoor recreation and careless actions are contributing to the number of ignitions. These preventable fires significantly increase the public safety risk,” Ostler said.
Interagency fire managers expect dangerous wildfire conditions in Utah to continue, especially for the short-term in the lower elevations where many people live, work and recreate. “Fire restrictions are already in place in many areas of Utah,” Ostler added. Until or if monsoonal moisture reduces fire danger, expect fire restrictions to be elevated in critical areas.
Utah’s fireworks laws, in addition to state and federal agencies, emphasize that it is illegal to possess or ignite fireworks on state or federally administered lands. If convicted, fines can reach up to $100,000 and responsible party(s) will be billed for all fire suppression costs, which frequently exceeds $50,000 for larger wildfires.
“Although the Traverse, Avenue R, Turn Key and Catfish fires in northern Utah were ignited by fireworks, please be careful where you build campfires. Completely extinguish campfires with water and be aware of where you park your vehicle. A hot exhaust system or embers from a campfire can result in a very dangerous situation for firefighters and the public,” Ostler said.
Fireworks season is as follows: July 2-5, July 22-25, and Dec. 31-Jan. 1 Their use is discouraged near vegetation and is not advised on windy days, officials said.