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Summit County fire danger level raised to ‘High’

Renai Bodley Miller
Summit County is now at a high fire danger level, and people should take extra precautions to prevent fires.

Summit County entered high fire danger level Wednesday. Excessively hot temperatures and dry conditions are not helping.

Fire awareness and fire danger have become a summer tradition since the drought has gripped Utah. When Summit County goes from a moderate to a high level of fire danger, which happened this week, there are several factors behind the decision.

Summit County Fire Warden Bryce Boyer says fuel moisture, fire activity and what’s burning and not burning are some of the criteria. Also, if other fires are in the area taking up resources it can tip the county to raise the fire danger.

While there are no fire restrictions with this new level, Boyer says if it doesn’t rain soon that could change.

“If it continues at the rate at what we’re seeing now I would expect that by the 24th, we would probably be seeing fireworks type restrictions, and possibly even some of the open fires, and so depending on what we see with monsoons and so on," he said. "If we start seeing them cycle through again, wet, we may end up being a lot better off.”  

Wildfire fuel - things that burn – is also crucial in determining fire danger level. Native grasses that turn from vibrant green to a yellowish color indicate they are drying out, which means they would carry a fire quickly.

Boyer says dry conditions and high winds, 10 mph or higher, create a potential for fire to spread quickly.

He asks for the public to be aware of fire risks and take some extra steps to maintain a fire-free summer.

“And just using more caution with where they're having fires, making sure that they're putting fires out," he said. "If you're doing welding, cutting, grinding, anything that produces sparks, it's probably a good idea to start having someone just designated to watch while that person is doing that to be able to catch any small starts or embers or sparks from those activities that may start a fire.”

As of Thursday July 7th, Wasatch County remains at a moderate level of fire risk.