Spring burn season closes early due to runaway fires

Santa Clara-Ivins Firefighters respond to a runaway controlled burn on 800 South in Ivins City, Utah, May 9, 2020 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The permitted burn season for spring ends Sunday.

Scene of a brush fire nestled up against the red cliffs of St. George, Utah, May 15, 2020 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

While usually lasting through the end of May, area fire agencies announced earlier this month that the permitted burn season will end May 17 due to an increase in controlled weed and debris burns that turned into uncontrolled brush fires.

Color Country Interagency Fire Management Officer Mike Melton added that the season actually ended Friday “unofficially.” The availability to get a burn permit, for the most part, is closed off this weekend.

“We’ve had several (fires)…that started as controlled burns and got away from people too quickly,” Santa Clara-Ivins Fire Chief Randy Hancey told St. George News last week. “Things are real dry and (the fire) starts spreading, and before people know it, its out of control and they can’t handle it, so the fire department gets called in to take care of it.”

A runaway permitted burn threatened a home in St. George Friday afternoon. Fire agencies have responded to both multiple runaway burns and other fires across the county over the last two weeks.

This time of year also brings heightened concerns with rising summer temperatures that dry out vegetation and make them more susceptible to fire. A red flag fire warning has already been issued for the southwest Utah region by the National Weather Service for between 2 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Monday.

Federal, state and local fire managers are also predicting another potentially busy and dangerous fire season in the coming months.

“It’s a lot drier with the heat and temperatures we’re getting,” Hancey said.

The next permitted burn season for incorporated parts of Washington County is Sept. 15 through Nov. 15. The burn season for unincorporated areas will be Nov. 1-15.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!