SALT LAKE CITY — In some instances, the term "fire season" has turned into "fire year," and fire crews in Utah want residents to know the importance of having a plan for potential wildfires while making sure their home is equipped for the worst possible scenario.
“For Salt Lake City specifically being in a dry climate, especially right now, we’re getting a lot of rain. We’re going to see a lot of growth, but it’s Salt Lake City and in the summer it’s going to get dry and it’s going to get hot,” said Captain Shaun Mumedy with Salt Lake City Fire Department. “Prepare now so that later when something does happen, you’re ready for it and it doesn’t catch you off guard.”
Salt Lake City firefighters have been canvassing "at risk" neighborhoods over the past few months to let residents know about their "ready, set, go" campaign and the importance of creating defensible space around their homes. Residents can also contact the department for an at-home assessment of their property so they can best prepare for the potential risk of wildfire.
“We target a few different areas, communities around the cities here that are in that wildland-urban interface area where they’re really in a higher danger area due to the amount of growth and trees and shrubbery around that area,” said Captain Mumedy. “We targeted a couple of communities along the Jordan River here along the west side of the Salt Lake that are at risk due to the large amount of vegetation. A lot of those homes have their backyard right up against that river — that could pose a hazard as well.”
Salt Lake City firefighters will also be going door-to-door in certain communities to specifically talk about fireworks in the coming weeks, as well as the risks and restrictions that come with them.
Fire crews that have already been working on the fire lines out of state are advising residents to be "firewise" in their own communities.
“In Arizona, we were actually assigned to a structure protection group,” said AJ Mason, an engineer with Weber Fire District who has been deployed to Texas and Arizona this year for wildfires. “Some of just the easy things that people can do are clean your rain gutters, make sure there’s not leaves and pine needles in them, make sure there’s not wood piles next to your home, and just kind of keep the area about five feet around your home free of anything that’s flammable.”