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Confusion Over Web Sites Raises Questions About Local Fire Restrictions

Michelle Deininger

Park City Fire District has recently been fielding calls and questions from residents who have heard or read online that fire restrictions have been lifted here. Fire Marshal Mike Owens says that is absolutely not the case. 

Owens said people here have been accidentally googling Summit County Colorado, prompting questions and confusion.

The URLs are similar – Summitfire.org takes people to Colorado, while Summitcounty.org takes people to Utah. But the information on the two sites is very different – Summit County Colorado’s fire danger level is moderate right now, and Summit County Utah’s level is extreme.

Owens said he expects local fire restrictions to remain in place here for the rest of the season. Those restrictions typically end in November and are always subject to conditions and weather.

No open fires are permitted on any state, unincorporated or National Forest lands in the county. Outdoor smoking is also banned except for in areas with at least a 3-foot radius that is barren or cleared of flammable material. Stoves or grills fueled solely by liquid petroleum fuels are allowed.

Owens said Park City Fire District has also fielded fire-related calls from residents in Park City, Kansas.

As part of its comprehensive efforts to reduce fire risk, the fire district offers a free wood chipping service to residents. The fire district will swing by and chip dead and dry wood and brush that has been stacked properly near curbs or roadsides.

Maximum size for a wood pile that needs chipping is 8 feet long by 6 feet wide by 8 feet high. When stacking, place log butts facing out and all in the same direction. Piles need to be within 5 feet of the curb of a city or county street, not blocked by gates or fences, and not on shared driveways. Note that the fire district does not chip building materials and piles can’t contain any wire.

Owens said this year’s chipping program will wrap up at summer’s end, and he urged residents who need the service to go online and register to have their piles picked up. Visit pcfd.org to request chipping.

Michelle, who joined KPCW in 2021, arrived in Utah in 2018 by way of Massachusetts, where the skiing was icy and the mosquitoes formidable. A former daily newspaper reporter and editor (at the Visalia Times-Delta in CA) and columnist (at The Cohasset Mariner in MA), Michelle has been a writer and editor for decades. She holds a journalism degree from CSU Fresno and has worked as a journalist, freelance writer and web content creator, reporting extensively on education and youth along with general assignment and breaking news.