More than half of 2019 Utah wildfires were human-caused

19 May 2020

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USA – SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – As the temperature warms up and more people are outside – building fires or lighting fireworks – the risk of sparking a wildfire rises.

Smokes fills the skies and thousands of acres burn every year as the Beehive State sees wildfires devastate wildlife and sometimes home.

In 2019, Utah had 1,027 wildfires, and 690 of those were human-caused, according to Utah Fire Info officials. The other 370 were lightening-caused.

And as the state enters a new fire season, Unified Fire Authority spokesman Matthew McFarland said the public can help limit the risk by mitigating any hazards around your home.

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“We are in the season where fires can happen. So, charcoal, campfires. Anything like that can’t be left unattended. If it’s legal to burn, make sure you’re also there. Don’t leave it unattended,” McFarland said.

When using any fire source, McFarland said to make sure you’re prepared to suppress a fire if it gets out of hand.

Because Utah’s landscape is desert, McFarland said a wildfire can happen anywhere – not just on the outskirts of a community.

“Salt Lake Valley has plenty of river bottoms areas, the Jordan River bottom, Dimple Dell Park, and all sorts of lots and abandon areas people don’t realize are fire dangers,” McFarland said.

McFarland reminds the public when using fire to be safe and smart.

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