Utah firefighters see increase in human-caused fires over the weekend; 45 in past 3 days

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jun 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-12 20:29:35-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah – State fire watchers are urging the public to be extra vigilant this year as 45 human caused wildfires have popped up in the past three days.

Since Friday, firefighters have been on the front lines of wildfires all across the state – from Box Elder and Uintah County to Washington County.

“We’ve had several fires that were several hundred acres each,” said Jason Curry, Utah Division of Forestry Fire & State Lands.

While conditions and strong winds heightened fire danger, Curry said 45 of the fires sparked in the past three days were caused by humans. Fifteen of the fires are in Northern Utah.

“That’s a really, really high level. We’ve had busy times before, but it’s surprising to us coming off this green spring where a couple weeks ago everything was just lush and green,” Curry said.

Vegetation is drying out, quickly making conditions ripe for wildfires. When you factor in human error, Curry said one spark can create a raging fire within seconds.

On Saturday, firefighters said a couple target shooting may have accidentally started a fire on a hillside near homes. On Sunday, dozens of firefighters battled a 200 acre fire in Saratoga Springs. Investigators also believe that one was human-caused.

They don’t want a repeat of last year where 60 percent of wildfires in the Utah were sparked by people.

“We know people are out there being careless and being reckless, doing things they’re not supposed to be doing first of all when it comes to things like fireworks, and exploding targets,” said Curry.

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