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Governor; fire officials urge Utahns to use ‘Fire Sense’ to prevent wildfires

Posted at 9:35 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 23:39:53-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Alongside local, state and federal agencies, Utah Governor Spencer Cox announced the roll out of the‘Fire Sense’ campaign. The initiative aims to remind Utahns to recreate responsibly and be mindful of the potential for wildfire amid extremely dry conditions.

“Where we are and where we’re starting from is not good, it’s no secret that we’re facing one of the driest years that we’ve had,” said Utah Governor Spencer Cox on Wednesday. “I’m asking all Utahns and I’m begging all Utahns right now to do their part to prevent wildfires.”

‘Fire Sense’ is an interagency fire awareness campaign that hopes to make the public aware of the drought conditions and potential for wildfire right now in Utah.

Read - Wildfire prevention starts with all of us

“People can still recreate, they just need to recreate in a smart way and I think that’s a big part of the fire sense fire prevention program that the governor rolled out today,” said Ben Newburn, Regional Fire Director for the U.S. Forest Service.

“Very likely by mid-summer by July we’re probably going to see all-time record dry levels in all of our fine to heavier fuels in the forest so it’s what we’re bracing for,” said Basil Newmerzhycky, a Meteorologist for Great Basin Predictive Services. Newmerzhycky also mentioned that the month of June is typically the worst for wildfires during the traditional ‘fire season’ in Utah.

“Utah is tinder-dry right now, we don’t predict that’s going to get better, please help us not to burn the state down,” said Brian Steed, Executive Director for the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

Read - Mapleton residents put up sandbags to prevent flooding near 2020 wildfire burn scar

So far in 2021, more than 227 wildfires have scorched more than 8,400 acres in Utah.

"The state is well above the average for wildfires and acres burned for this time of year compared to previous years," read a news release from the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. "The public needs to take more precautions when in the outdoors; all but eight wildfires out of 227 have been human caused so far this year."