SALT LAKE CITY – Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Mike Lee each have submitted statements for publication on the wildfires affecting the state. We present them both below:
Dear Fellow Utahns:
High temperatures and extremely dry conditions have combined to produce one of the worst fire seasons in our state’s history. As you read this, more than a half-dozen major fires continue to rage across Utah, consuming tens of thousands of acres and scores of homes and other structures.
Thus far, 438 Utah wildfires have erupted this year and burned more than 108,000 acres. The blazes have resulted in at least one death, severe injury to two firefighters, the forced evacuation of hundreds of Utahns and major inconvenience to thousands more. And with the windy, hot and dry conditions, even more wildfires could break out at any time.
To facilitate quicker relief for victims and to ensure our state has every possible resource to fight and contain these fires, I am monitoring the situation and coordinating closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and mayors and county commissioners in areas impacted by the flames.
I am proud of our brave firefighters and first responders who have and continue, at great personal risk, to protect property and save lives. I’m also gratified to see Utah communities pull together in the face of such adversity and open their hearts and their wallets to those who have been displaced.
As we continue to work together and marshal our resources, I have every confidence that we will knock down these wildfires. Please know that I will continue to work as hard as I can to ensure that we have all the support we need at the federal level, and that my thoughts and prayers are with the thousands of Utahns who have been impacted by the fires.
Our thoughts are with those Utahns who have experienced the devastating destruction and loss caused by the wild fires across the State. I am thankful for the leadership of Governor Herbert and local area officials, along with the courageous firefighters, and many others who are assisting the effort to contain and put out the fires.
I am following their progress with great interest and hope for swift success. I have instructed my office to coordinate any assistance we may offer. The massive damage, and loss of life, is a sober reminder to us all as we go into the July 4th and 24th holidays of how important it is to be wise and careful with our campfires, fireworks, and firearms that could quickly become the cause another catastrophe.
Submitted by the Offices of Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Mike Lee, respectively.