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Windy day prompts reminders for wildfire prevention in Utah

Posted at 9:23 PM, May 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-09 00:28:11-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Another spring day of strong winds blew across Tooele Valley on Sunday, prompting firefighters to warn residents of the approaching wildfire season.

May is Wildfire Awareness Month. The Utah Department of Natural Resources reported that 70% of Utah wildfires are completely preventable.

Although Sunday afternoon was gloomy and chilly, North Tooele Fire District Chief Kevin Nunn warns residents to not let their guard down.

“It’s not so much dependent on the temperature. It’s more dependent on that wind factor. If you have a start, then the wind can carry it,” he said.

Sunday evening’s precipitation definitely prevents dry vegetation, but with warmer temperatures on the way, Nunn advises you to not let the sight of green hills fool you. It’s the dry patches of brush nearby that are the real threat.

“When you’re transitioning out of that green into the brown, people forget that fire can travel very quickly through that dry, dead vegetation,” he said.

Utah saw strong winds pick up across the state Sunday afternoon. The National Weather Service of Salt Lake City reported winds reaching 61 mph at the Cedar City Municipal Airport. Utah County also saw winds up to 55 mph.

The powerful gusts proved to be a challenge for drivers.

“I get pushed all over the place,” said semi-truck driver Doug Hess. “That wind gust at 45 miles per hour, 50 miles per hour – it pushes this truck and trailer over.”

Hess said anyone traveling with a trailer dealt with some pushback Sunday.

“It wasn’t that bad going through Wyoming, but at Salt Lake City, wind was crazy,” he said.