Last year it was flooding; this year, it’s fires the state is bracing for.
“We’ve had about 120 fires now and it’s growing by the day," says Jason Curry, firefighter and spokesman for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. He says at this time last year he’d worked on two fires; this year that number is at 20 and counting.
"It’s been active; I’ve been all over the place. Fires behavior varies year to year just based on the fuel moisture and this year based on what I have seen fire behavior is a lot more active than what I have seen in the past couple of years.”
With the state’s fire season already in full swing, Utah Governor Gary Herbert took time during his monthly News Conference on KUED to address the rapidly growing concern.
“As we approach this Memorial Day weekend we need to encourage the people of Utah to be careful, be vigilant, in their outdoor recreation. It’s going to cost our budget; last year we spent about $2.2 million on fires, this year we’re going to have more fires it appears.”
Of the 120 fires so far this season, 118 have been human caused often by careless mistakes like vehicles driving over dry grass or campfires that get out of hand. But most of this spring's fires have been relatively small; combined they have eaten up about 3,000 acres of land.
To monitor fires in the state, go to utahfireinfo.gov.