Utah had an above average snowfall in the winter, followed by a wet spring. The mountains are green. So fire danger should be low, right? Wrong, and the fire season is shaping up to be a bad one — and we haven’t even hit fireworks season or the hottest time of the year yet.
The wet winter and spring not only replenished reservoirs, they provided water to grasses, which grew up fast and tall. “They’re the first things to dry out,” said Utah County Wildland Fire Capt. Andrew Watson. And they’re a major carrier of fires.
In the last few weeks, since temperatures have been climbing, fires have been popping up all over Utah County. There have been fires on the west side of Utah Lake, near Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs, and there’s still a fire burning in American Fork Canyon.
But the light, flashy fuels aren’t the only reason for the blazes. Many of the fires are human-caused — the American Fork fire, which started from an unattended campfire, and a June 26 fire in Saratoga Springs, which was started by fireworks. Police referred two teenage boys to juvenile court on charges of lighting fireworks outside of allowed days, an infraction, and lighting fireworks in a restricted area, a class B misdemeanor. They also may be responsible for covering the cost of fighting the 4.4-acre fire, which was $12,000-$14,000.
“People have been doing things that have just been pretty foolish,” Watson said. So when you’re out recreating:
- Put your campfire out
- Don’t play with fire
- Shoot in a safe area
- Don’t use exploding target
- Carry a fire extinguisher or shovel to put out small fires
- Don’t drive through dry brush if you have a hot muffler.
“Just have fun and be safe,” Watson added.
Because of the high fire danger, the state forester issued a ban on June 22 on “setting, building, maintaining attending or using open fires of any kind” on all unincorporated areas and all state lands in Utah, Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake and Tooele counties. But the state still allows fires in designated fire pits in improved campgrounds, picnic sites and homes with running water.
In Provo, the city has banned fires in the foothills on the east bench and in the Provo watershed, including South Fork. But the city still allows fires in designated fire pits in improved campgrounds and parks. Anyone who violates the ban could be guilty of a class B misdemeanor.
“We realize that part of the allure of summer is sitting around a fire enjoying time with friends and family,” Provo Fire Marshal Kevin Paxton said in a press release. “We believe with the current fuel and predictable drying conditions that these fire restrictions allow a balance between responsible use of our outdoor resources and the reduction of the risk of a catastrophic fire.”
“We believe with the current fuel and predictable drying conditions that these fire restrictions allow a balance between responsible use of our outdoor resources and the reduction of the risk of a catastrophic fire.” — Provo Fire Marshal Kevin Paxton
In addition to open fires, the state and cities are gearing up for fireworks season, which is July 1–7 and July 21–27. The state forester’s ban includes fireworks, and many cities have fireworks restrictions.
No fireworks in city parks, within 100 feet of any stream bed, and only in areas designed on the city’s map.
East of Canyon Road: No ground or aerial fireworks, no open pit fires without screens.
West of Canyon Road: No aerial fireworks, fire pits up to 36 inches in diameter are permitted.
Ground fireworks are OK in the downtown part of town — 100 West to State Road 73, and 200 North to 200 South.
No smoking outside an enclosed vehicle or building, except in areas where there is clear ground for three feet. Open fires only in improved locations at homes.
No aerial fireworks in the restricted areas and within 300 feet of vacant lots and undeveloped land in the unrestricted areas.
No ground-based fireworks in the restricted areas and within 50 feet of vacant lots and undeveloped land in the unrestricted areas. Map here.
No fireworks in city boundaries.
Map of fireworks restrictions here.
No fireworks in Traverse Mountain, north of Timpanogos Highway and along the Dry Creek corridor from 1200 East to Center Street.
No fireworks or open fires on all land west of I-15 within the Lindon City limits, including the Lindon Marina. This also includes all undeveloped land within the city as well as all city parks.
On the east side of town restrictions include all areas within an approximate distance of 500 feet from the foothills and U.S. Forest Service or BLM lands. This includes the Dry Canyon Trailhead and the 1200 East Horse Transfer Station. The city posted warning signs near the border of restricted areas.
Restriction map here.
Find restricted areas here.
Restriction map here.
Find restricted areas here.
No open fires in the foothills on the east bench or in the city’s watershed areas, except in improved parks and campgrounds. Fireworks restrictions are found here. The city allows fireworks at these parks:
- Provost Park – 629 S. 1000 East
- Kiwanis Park – 820 N. 1100 East
- Sertoma Park – 400 E. 2400 North
- Exchange Park – 900 N. 700 West
- Fort Utah Park – 200 N. Geneva Road
- Footprinters Park – 1150 S. 1350 Wes
- South of the Highline Canal
- Within 20 feet of any building North of 400 North except in developed subdivisions
- Within 200 feet of an open field, unimproved lot with dry vegetation, or any vacant building with dry vegetation on the lot
- East of Woodland Hills Drive
- Within 200 feet of any haystack, straw, or other flammable agricultural product.
No fireworks east of I-15, west of I-15 south of the Red Barn or in the Summit Ridge development. Find a map here.
No fireworks within 200 feet of open fields and agricultural areas with dry vegetative growth or combustible materials, BLM lands, State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration lands, and Wildland-Urban Interface areas.
You may not discharge fireworks if you live within 150 feet of an undeveloped lot or property in a residential neighborhood or area.
Find a map here.
No fireworks along the northeast boundary of the city, starting at Main Street at 1400 North up through Millpond Drive, east on 400 North and winding its way over to 1300 East and up Canyon Road, including both sides of Canyon Road from 2450 East to the city limits. Find a map here.
Restrictions listed here.