More homes saved, less acreage burned this wildfire season

Posted at 9:54 PM, Jul 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-28 23:54:15-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The U.S. Forest Service says northern Utah has seen only 13 large fires this year.

Fire officials say the primary reason wildfires are staying small this year is because resources are available, unlike last year when firefighters and aircraft were spread thin across the western United States.

“We've been very fortunate to have access to ground crews, fire engines, and our air tankers and our helicopters,” said Loyal Clark, spokesman for the Forest Service.

Another reason for the quick containment, local and volunteer fire departments are getting a jump on fires long before state and federal resources arrive.

“That training has paid off big time. Their level of expertise is way above what it was three years ago. That's probably one of the biggest factors from this season,” said Jason Curry, spokesman for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

The Forest Service says fireworks, firearms and camp fires have already caused 202 fires this summer in northern Utah.

"Ninety percent of our fires each year are human caused, and we are right up there bumping the 90 to 95 percent this year,” Clark said.

Fireworks season officially ended this weekend, a fact that gives firefighters some relief. Throughout the month of August crews expect to fight more lightening caused fires.