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Crews hard at work in Utah’s forests now with the goal of suppressing wildfires later on

Posted at 8:21 PM, Apr 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 22:21:34-04

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah -- The last day of April was cold and wet in Utah, but crews with the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest are hard at work trying to prevent wildfires.

After last year's devastating wildfire season, the worry is that this year's heavy snow pack will provide a lot of fuel for fires this year.

"Once the snow goes away, it really depends on whether we get fire starts whether it`s lightening, or human caused," Forest Supervisor David Whittekiend said. "And it really depends on when we get rain during the summer and when moisture comes."

Firefighters are in the process of treating certain areas with fuel and mechanical treatments as well as prescribed fires to try and prevent forest fires from spreading.

"Those give our firefighters the opportunity to catch a fire and when they burn into old fires or prescribed fires or those fuel treatments generally the fire behavior goes down and firefighters can get right against the fire to suppress it," Whittekiend said.

So far crews have done fuel treatments on about 3,000 acres of forest and they`d like to do mechanical treatments and burns on 11,000 acres by the end of the fiscal year.

Every year more than 50 percent of the wildfires in Utah are caused by humans.

The best way to prevent starting a forest fire is to be careful in the woods, always check your campfire and never throw out a cigarette butt.

Even a chain dragging from a trailer can spark a wildfire.