NewsUtah Drought


Utah fire officials talk dry conditions, controlled burn safety

Posted at 6:50 PM, Mar 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-27 20:50:35-04

UTAH COUNTY — Fire crews in Utah County have stayed busy this week.

A fire in Lake Shore burned 300 tons of hay and multiple vehicles on Saturday. Crews from Spanish Fork, Salem, Woodland Hills and Mapleton fire departments responded to put out the blaze.

According to the Utah County Fire Marshal, the fire reignited Sunday morning. They say at least one outbuilding was lost.

"The last week, we've had five fires, we've had two now, three that were ditch bank fires," said Chief Eddie Hales, Spanish Fork Fire & EMS.

The current dry conditions coupled with the ever-changing winds have some fire officials worried.

"What you have is you're starting to get warmer temperatures, higher winds, and then changing winds — all of that stuff is as tender, dry as it was back in August or September," said Chief Brian Brendel with the Mountain Green Fire Protection District.

Chief Brendel is urging people to be cautious if they choose to do an agricultural burn, or even a controlled burn when the window to get a burn permit opens up at the end of the month.

A controlled burn got out of control in Weber County last weekend.

North View Fire District Marshal Ryan Barker said it started as an agricultural burn before getting out of control. Nearly two acres, an abandoned truck, and a camper were burned.

Chief Brendel says his agency, along with Morgan County Fire Department, worked a similar incident in Porterville on Saturday.

"It was about a quarter of an acre or so when we arrived," he said.

Chief Brendel says it isn't uncommon for a controlled burn to get out of control quickly.

"I'd say probably half of our controlled burns have some issue where they have to call the fire department and get us to respond out there to either help them trying to contain it or to just kind of give them a hand," he said.

That's why he says it's important for people to have a burn permit.

READ: Group cited for burning pallets in prohibited area in Provo Canyon

Chief Brendel says the permit gives the necessary instructions, like who to call before you burn and even the proper way to go about doing it. He says fire code officials also get copies of the permit when someone takes a burn permit in his area.

Permits for the open burn window can be issued from March 1 to May 30 and from Sep. 15 to Nove. 15 in Grand, Emery, Washington, Kane, Iron, Beaver and Wayne counties.

In all other areas across the state, permits may be issued between March 30 and May 30, and between Sep. 15 and Oct. 30.

More information can be found on the Utah Department of Environmental Quality website.