Citing rain and favorable conditions, officials lift fire restrictions for southwest Utah

A firefighter uses a backpack pump to spray water on a hotspot in the Clear Creek area above Panguitch Lake, Garfield County, Utah, July 1, 2017 | Photo courtesy Color Country Interagency Fire Center, Cedar City News / St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Fire restrictions across central and southwest Utah will be rescinded Friday, fire officials announced Wednesday.

Thanks to the recent rainfall and favorable, long-range forecasts, fire managers with the Color Country Interagency Fire Center are rescinding fire restrictions over the following:

  • Incorporated private lands
  • State lands
  • Bureau of Land Management lands
  • Fishlake National Forest lands

This applies to Beaver, Garfield, Kane, Iron, Washington, Juab, Millard, Sanpete, Sevier, Piute and Wayne counties starting at 12:01 a.m., Friday, fire managers said in a news release.

Human-caused wildfires have decreased the past couple of weeks after a surge of human-caused fires during June prompted fire agencies to impose restrictions on known activities that cause wildfires.

It has been estimated by the U.S. Forest Service that up to 91 percent of the state’s wildfires triggered in the first half of 2017 were human-caused.

The most infamous of those human-caused has been the Brian Head Fire that started June 18, burned an estimated 71,000 acres and lasted for nearly a month. For a time it was the largest wildfire in the nation.

Note on debris burning

Regardless of restriction status, permits for any debris burning are always required and strictly enforced.

“Illegal debris burning was one of the leading causes of many wildfires in (southwest) Utah this fire season” said Mike Melton, fire management officer with the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. Permits for debris burning are always required from the agency having jurisdiction.

Many people are simply unaware of the regulations and conditions. A phone call to the local fire department, land management agency or visiting utahfireinfo.gov could prevent these fires” Melton said.

Runaway campfires

Abandoned campfires are also a concern for fire managers and are another leading source of human-caused fires in the state.

Campers may think they’ve put out a fire and walkaway. However, it can flare up again under the right circumstances.

Improperly extinguished campfires can flare up once more, and with no one around to put it out a second time they can get out of control. Campfires, even if they appear to be out, should be cold to the touch before leaving them – stir the dirt with water until it is cold.

The Color Country Interagency Fire Center is made up of local, state and federal fire and land agencies that generally cover the five-county region (Washington, Iron, Kane, Garfield and Beaver counties) and the Arizona Strip.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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