ST. GEORGE — Due to cooler temperatures, moisture in the forecast and lower potential for human-caused wildfire activity, fire managers have announced they are lifting most fire restrictions in Washington, Kane, Beaver and Iron counties.
According to a press release from the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, the lifting of restrictions will go into effect just after midnight Wednesday.
However, debris burning in towns and cities, as well as unincorporated areas, is strictly regulated by permit only. Check with your local fire department, county fire warden or local land management agency for requirements in your area.
Despite the lifting of restrictions, fire managers said in the press release that residents in these four counties – as well as other areas in the state where restrictions are still in place – should note that wildfire danger still exists and to use caution when traveling, working, recreating or engaging in any fire-related activity (see “Precautions and preparedness” below).
The Utah fire season unofficially runs from May through October, though under state law it starts June 1 and runs through Oct. 31. However, at the beginning of September, Mike Melton, area fire manager for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, told St. George News the fire season had started later and was anticipated to run longer than usual.
“We’re kind of a month behind,” Melton said.
According the UtahFireInfo website, there are currently two wildfires burning in the state as of Wednesday morning, including the lightning-caused Chessman Canyon Fire in Cedar Breaks National Monument.
The Chessman Canyon Fire is at approximately 413 acres; however, the fire is being monitored by firefighters and currently poses no threat to the public or structures. As such, fire managers are letting the fire “play its natural role” and are asking the public not to report the fire.
Precautions and preparedness
If you are traveling or planning to recreate using ATVs or similar vehicles, take the following precautions to avoid starting a wildfire:
- Avoid driving or parking your vehicle in tall grass.
- Never throw a lighted cigarette out of a vehicle.
- When pulling a trailer, attach safety chains securely; loose chains can drag on the pavement and cause sparks, igniting roadside fires.
- Look behind you before driving away from fire-sensitive locations such as areas with tall grass or campsites to check for signs of a developing fire.
- Always use a spark arrester on internal combustion engines.
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