Fire restrictions on BLM lands expanded to encompass 5 southwestern Utah counties

Stock image | Pixabay, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — To help prevent wildland fires during this period of hazardous fire conditions, the Bureau of Land Management announced that fire restrictions will begin Thursday for all public lands managed by the BLM in Beaver, Iron, Kane and Garfield counties.

Similar fire restrictions were put in place June 1 for BLM land in Washington County and the Arizona Strip, as well as the following:

  • Unincorporated privately owned and all state-administered lands (Utah Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands). Incorporated towns and cities are not included in these restrictions. Contact your local fire department for municipal restrictions.
  • National Park Service (Zion National Park).
  • Dixie National Forest, Pine Valley Ranger District.
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs (Trust Lands of the Shivwits and Kaibab Band Reservations).

Preventable wildfires threaten lives, property and precious resources. According to a press release from the BLM, the national average of human-caused wildfires comprises 87% of all wildfire occurrences every year. Most of these fires can be prevented.

“We may be looking at another potentially severe fire season if warm, dry and windy weather continues to trend. We want people to continue recreating on public lands and enjoying their time on the Paria River and Color Country Districts,” Paria River District Manager Harry Barber said in the press release.

“However, we also want the public to be aware that we all share in the responsibility to prevent wildfires. We hope to see that spirit of cooperation again this fire season; working together to help keep our public lands and communities safe and doing our part to mitigate human-caused wildfires, which will better enable firefighting resource availability to fight the naturally-occurring fires when they happen.”

The BLM issued fire prevention orders that outline the restrictions after coordinating with the Color Country Interagency Fire partners. Restrictions of specific activities will remain in place until long-term weather forecasts and environmental conditions provide a reduced risk for starting wildland fires.

Prohibited activities include the following:

  • Campfires, except in permanently constructed cement or metal fire pits provided in agency developed campgrounds and picnic areas.
  • Grinding, cutting and welding of metal.
  • Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order as determined by the Society of Automotive Engineers SAE recommended practices J335 and J350.
  • Possession and/or detonation of explosives, including exploding targets, fireworks and incendiary or chemical devices and pyrotechnics as defined by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
    • Binary explosives include, but are not limited to, prepackaged products consisting of two separate components, usually an oxidizer like ammonium nitrate and a fuel such as aluminum or another metal. Fireworks include, but are not limited to, any device that produces noise, smoke, showers of sparks or movement by combustion or explosive materials. This definition includes all classes of fireworks.

Individuals violating the prevention order can be subject to fines up to $1,000, along with associated fire suppression and rehabilitation costs. All exemptions to the restrictions are obtained through local permits issued by the authorized officer for activities that will not conflict with the purpose of the order and any federal, state or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.

Activities that are allowed include the following:

  • The use of devices fueled by petroleum or liquid petroleum gas in all locations.
  • The use of campfires in permanently constructed cement or metal fire pits provided in agency developed campgrounds and picnic areas.
  • The use of charcoal burning in developed campgrounds or picnic grounds within permanent fire rings or grills constructed of metal or concrete. In undeveloped camping locations, charcoal must be set in metal pans in areas clear of flammable vegetation within 3 diameter feet.

Acting Color Country District Manager Randy Peterson said in the press release that preventing human-caused wildland fires is a “key part in keeping our public lands available for everyone to explore and enjoy.”

“It impacts our safety, our air quality, the ecosystems we manage and the communities that serve as our nation’s hubs for incredible outdoor recreation adventures,” Peterson said. “Caring for public lands goes beyond the BLM’s employees. Success is defined by how we work together to manage public lands for our future generations.”

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

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