CEDAR CITY — Amid a rash of wildfires across Utah and with the Fourth of July just around corner, Dixie National Forest officials are reminding the public that campfires are not allowed anywhere on the national forest except in developed campgrounds.
“It has now been one year since the start of the Brian Head Fire that burned approximately 71,672 acres. Conditions are a lot drier this year than they were this time last year,” Cedar City District Ranger Veronica Magnuson said in a statement.
This week saw three wildfires in Southern Utah: West Valley Fire, on Pine Valley Mountain, which forced the closure of some trails on Dixie National Forest; Dry Canyon Fire, near Parawon; and Black Mountain Fire, outside of Minersville.
According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, southwest Utah is in extreme drought conditions.
On June 1, the southern Utah Color Country Interagency fire managers placed into effect fire restrictions to help prevent human-caused fires and to limit the exposure to visitors during periods of potentially dangerous fire conditions. Implementation of fire restrictions normally occurs based on a combination of factors that are carefully measured.
“June and July is when fire managers anticipate high/severe fire danger and severe fire weather conditions to occur,” said Keith Adams, Dixie National Forest’s fuels specialist. “The longer days, higher temperatures and limited precipitation received during these months dries out both live and dead vegetation, increasing the amount of available fuels and the potential for large fire spread.”
Criteria used to determine when to implement restrictions include things such as current and predicted weather, fuel moisture, a variety of science-based indices, fire activity levels and available firefighting resources. Additional restrictions may be applied any time that conditions warrant.
Fire restrictions typically remain in effect until the area covered by the restrictions receives significant precipitation, at which time they will be re-evaluated.