Fire managers ease restrictions for parts of southwest Utah while other restrictions remain in effect

Smoke visible from the West Valley Fire in New Harmony, Utah, June 28, 2018 | Photo by and courtesy of Holly Knight, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Due to lower fire danger in southwest Utah, fire managers with the state of Utah, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and National Park Service have relaxed fire restrictions. However, the restrictions have not been eased on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management in Utah and some state parks.

The restriction on campfires will be eased beginning Thursday, allowing campfires in designated areas, as well as easing operating time restrictions on chainsaws and other motorized equipment. Fires will be allowed in approved fee area campgrounds on Forest Service lands but not dispersed open campsites. According to a press release from the Forest Service, if you paid for your campsite, you can have a campfire.

People like to have campfires, it goes along with camping,” Southwest Area Fire Management Officer Mike Melton said in the press release. “People do need to be careful; a little common sense goes a long way when you’re dealing with fire in the wildland.”

Agencies that govern fire use are citing weather as the primary factor in the decision. Recent rainfall and expected monsoonal moisture have reduced the threat of wildland fires, according to a press release.

However, while the risk is lower, officials are still urging the public to continue to use caution when using fire. The potential for wildfire is still present, and campfires are a major cause. More than two-thirds of all wildfires statewide have resulted from human activity.

Read more: ‘If it can spark, it can cause a fire’: Tips on preventing human-caused wildfires

Besides BLM land, within Southern Utah state parks, fire restrictions are still in place.

Annual fire restrictions for Snow Canyon State Park are in effect until Sept. 15, with wood burning prohibited. In the lowland zone of Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, campfires and wood gathering is restricted. In the upland zone, campfires are allowed but can be subject to closures if there’s high fire danger.

In Sand Hollow State Park, park officials are not allowing fires at any time or location within the park; however, gas and propane are allowed. Violations will result in a citation and possible eviction from the park.

Thursday’s announcement comes almost a week after restrictions were eased in the North Kaibab district and Grand Canyon National Park. Visitors and residents for North Kaibab are now allowed to use chargoal grills and have campfires. However, officials are reminding visitors and residents that stage 1 restrictions are year-round for Grand Canyon.

Read more: Fire restrictions to be lifted on North Kaibab district following similar action in Grand Canyon

Fire restrictions in other state parks and incorporated city areas vary by location. Check with local officials.

Members of the public can find additional information through the following sources:

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • PlanetU July 20, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    What an asinine decision, stupid…

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