Officials warn of fire danger risk in Utah

Posted at 5:19 PM, May 16, 2012

Utah forestry officials say fire danger risks in the state are high, just as the fire season begins. They are warning people to be extra careful.

Jason Curry from the Dept. of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, says tall grass, mild temperatures and wind have created the ideal setting for brush fires. He says that grass and vegetation has dried out, leaving an easy fuel source for wildfires.

“Dryer fuel is easier to burn, so any source of ignition down on the ground, it's likely to burn. We've had several so far this year, and on a daily basis we're getting wildfires,” said Curry.

Curry says Utah has had over 50 wildfires since the start of spring. He says many of them have been small and easily contained, but the risks for bigger wildfires are always present.

Recent fires in Farmington and South Jordan are proof of how quickly grass and brush-fueled fires spread.

Areas on the edge of town, like City Creek Canyon, are among the most vulnerable being a high-traffic area.

Erika Wilson uses City Creek Canyon for hiking and says the recent fires in South Jordan and Farmington make her realize the need to be more careful with outdoor flames.

“I think it means that people need to watch out; they need to be careful starting fires -- make sure they build a strong pit. Always put them out, make sure they're completely out,” said Wilson.

Red Flag warnings remain in effect for most of southern and southeast Utah.