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Utah faces severe wildfire danger, governor warns

Posted at 1:13 PM, Jul 04, 2023

PROVO, Utah — Utah is headed into severe fire weather over the next several weeks, Governor Spencer Cox warned.

In an interview with FOX 13 News at the Freedom Festival parade in Provo, the governor said he had been briefed on the wildfire risk on Tuesday morning. Gov. Cox said the next three weeks call for above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation.

"Especially towards the middle and end of July is going to be severe fire danger," the governor said. "We're going to start to see red flag days. We’re having a red flag day in southern Utah right now. We have more fuel right now because of the wet spring and the snow. There’s more grass to burn and... we’re heading into that dangerous time and we need people to be safe. We need people to be careful."

"Red flag days" are when hot temperatures and high winds dramatically increase the risk of fires. Utah's Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands has already enacted fire restrictions on state lands in southwestern Utah, including bans on fireworks, weed burning, and campfires except in designated areas.

Fire officials statewide have been warning about an increased risk of wildfire danger as grasses and brush that benefited from a record-breaking winter now begin to dry out. They have urged Utahns to be responsible with fireworks, campfires and outdoor recreation.