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Monday's rain welcomed, but Utah wildfire, drought concerns remain

Posted at 5:20 PM, Apr 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-26 19:20:09-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Monday’s rainy, wet weather isn’t expected to be enough to get Utah out of serious trouble this summer.

WATCH: Salt Lake County to cut water use by 5%, asks residents to do same

April showers bring May flowers, but near record rain in Salt Lake City won’t put a big dent in the state-wide drought.

“This is wonderful and needed but this is not unexpected,” said Utah Snow Survey’s Jordan Clayton.

Utah’s low snowpack doesn’t appear to be melting its way into reservoirs. Instead, the extremely dry soils are soaking it up like a sponge.

“We really are seeing minimal response in our streams. That is exactly what we’ve been worried about. Thats why our forecasts have been so low,” said Clayton.

READ: Hold off watering lawn after Utah declares drought emergency

As far as snowpack, the USDA’s most recent data shows Snowbird is 72% percent of normal, Ben Lomond in Weber County at 62%, Timpanogos Divide at 57%. Down south, Payson is at 5% and Kolob at 3%.

“As far as wildfire conditions are concerned, this year’s given drought conditions, we are concerned statewide,” said Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands’ Kait Webb said.

So far, Utah’s had about 173 fires, that’s more than double the fires seen this time last year. Sixty-two hundred acres already burned.

WATCH: Lake Powell could hit near-record lows from drought

In Southern Utah, fuel conditions and fire behavior is similar to what is normally seen in June and July. To help, the state cut the open burn season short.

“Conditions are dry so it’s really essential the public understands their crucial role in wildfire prevention. We as a public have a direct influence on how busy wildfire season will be,” said Webb.

Hydrologists says it’s still way too early to start watering landscaping in most parts of the state.