Drought prompts fire restrictions on all Utah BLM Lands

Utah - BLM enacts fire restrictions throughout the state.

The Bureau of Land Management has announced that beginning June 16 at 12:01 a.m.,  fire restrictions  will be implemented in Juab, Millard, Sanpete, Sevier, Wayne and Piute counties. On June 18 at 12:01 a.m., all remaining BLM Utah managed lands will enter restrictions.

“Given the extreme drought conditions, human-caused fires are the biggest threat to public lands right now, which makes using Fire Sense critical to our communities and businesses that rely on public lands,” said BLM Utah State Director Greg Sheehan. “If we use Fire Sense and stop human-caused fires before they start, we can help our communities, we can enjoy public lands, and we can save precious fire fighting resources and water needed to fight those fires. The best way for you to help is to follow the restrictions. You know the fire drill.”

The phrase “you know the fire drill” is central to Utah’s new Fire Sense campaign, focused on common-sense practices to help prevent human-caused wildfires. On May 26, the state of Utah and the BLM launched “Fire Sense” – an interagency fire prevention campaign created to encourage and inform people on how they can change behaviors to prevent wildfires in Utah.

“We realize how dry it is out there and can see how the lack of moisture, combined with the heat and high winds, is a source of potential hazards when it comes to human-caused wildfires. Utah is our home and new fires in Utah are already causing road closures and evacuations,” said BLM Utah State Fire Management Officer Chris Delaney. “We need everyone to use Fire Sense to help prevent devastating consequences to resources and communities. Firefighters have risked their lives on hundreds of preventable, human-caused wildfires this year.”

Fire Sense includes several commonsense tips for people using public lands for recreation:

  • Do not leave campfires unattended. Completely extinguish campfires using the “drown, stir and feel” method. Do not leave until the site cold to the touch.
  • Park away from and not on dry grass.
  • Ensure tow chains are not dragging and tow straps are secured.
  • Observe fire danger restrictions on BLM lands designated as high-risk early in this fire season.
  • Ensure spark arresting devices are properly installed and maintained on all internal combustion engines.
  • Fireworks and exploding target cannot be used on public lands.

“We are keeping public lands accessible by using basic Fire Sense. Preventing fires helps prevent damages to the natural resources we use for outdoor recreation activities, like camping, mountain biking and riding OHVs,” said Richfield Field Manager Joelle McCarthy. “If we follow these fire restrictions, we stand a chance, during this drought, at reducing the potential loss of wildlife habitat and forage while managing outdoor recreation.”

90% of Utah Wildfires Human-Caused.

Across Utah this year as of mid-June 90% or 294 out of 326 wildfires have been human-caused. BLM reports that nearly 300 fires could have been prevented, not putting firefighters, public lands, and communities in danger.

Campfires are one of the most important restrictions to heed. The BLM allows campfires in permanently constructed cement or metal fire pits provided in agency-developed campground and picnic areas. When people use those fire pits, they also need to use some Fire Sense:

  • Keep fires to a manageable size.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Have adequate water available and extinguish campfires using the Drown, Stir and Feel method.
  • Devices fueled by petroleum or liquid petroleum gas with a shut-off valve are allowed in all locations.

Recreational target shooters should be aware of current weather and fuel (vegetation) conditions, especially Red Flag Warnings. Use safe ammunition and targets and find an appropriate backdrop void of rocks and vegetation. Have a shovel and water or a fire extinguisher and only shoot in areas where legally allowed.

For more information on preventing unwanted human caused wildfires, visit www.utahfireinfo.gov or on Twitter @UtahWildfire.

Deborah

Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

One thought on “Drought prompts fire restrictions on all Utah BLM Lands

  1. Wow, what a statistic. 90% of the wildfires have been caused by humans. I’m curious what can be done to better educate Utahns on fire safety. I see fireworks are banned on state land, but I’m also reading where Gov. Cox is asking residents to hold off on private fireworks too because of the drought. Seems like a good idea.

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