New restrictions to help prevent wildfires across Utah were put in place Thursday. The dry weather and lack of rain have created an early and intense fire season that is expected to continue if conditions don’t change.
The restrictions prohibit all open fires, except for those in approved campgrounds. Smoking is only allowed in enclosed vehicles and all fireworks are prohibited. Jason Curry of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands says if the weather continues, the fire season will not become any easier to combat.
“I think the predictions are, as far as weather, that we are going to continue to be warmer and dryer. So if those conditions hold true, we’re going to have a more active fire season and more extreme fire behavior when we do see ignitions,” Curry says.
He adds issuing these types of statewide restrictions doesn’t happen very often.
“We’ve done it in the past," he says. "Its been a few years and you know we’ve had some pretty good years and a lot of precipitation. In those wet years we don’t need to do the restrictions all over the entire state. This is the first time in about five years we’ve done a statewide restriction, especially this early.”
So far this year 96 wildfires have burned in Utah according to the Bureau of Land Management.