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Summit County moves back to “high” fire risk

Wanship Fire 2 from PCFD FB Page.jpg
Park City Fire District
Summit County's fire danger level moved up to "high" this week. Despite some incidents like a structure fire in Wanship on July 17, local officials say the summer has been favorable for fire conditions, but the fire season isn't over yet.

With hot and dry weather in the forecast, Summit County has increased its fire danger level from “moderate” to “high.”

Fire officials in Summit County say it’s been a good summer so far, but just because there’s been more rain than normal doesn't mean the area's out of the woods yet.

“It had been moderate,” Summit County Emergency Manager Kathryn McMullin says, “but with the hot, dry time coming up over the next few weeks, and no anticipated moisture coming in, the fire warden determined that we shouldn't increase the fire danger back up too high based on that information. It's based on relative humidity, the heat levels and no anticipated moisture. Over the next seven days and anticipated coming in, they do not anticipate any moisture.”

She says it’s also in anticipation of visitors coming to town. And she warns locals not to get complacent about preventing fires.

“I think we should continue to make sure that we have defensible perimeters around our home, that they're hardened — that we’re being just a fire-wise community,” McMullin says. “We don't drag chains, we're careful when we camp, we make sure that we have a burn permit if that's available.”

McMullin says burn permits won’t be issued while the danger level is high. She adds that the county will look at reducing the danger level when temperatures decrease and humidity increases.

“The weather has helped a lot” says Mike Owens, Park City Fire marshal. “We've had a little bit lower temperatures, we've had lots of rain, great humidity in the air. When was the last time you saw the ski resorts mowing their trails? That's something we saw this year. That tells us that we're having lots of growth later on. We're not not quite out of the woods yet. It's not until about mid-November that we really stopped chewing on our fingernails worrying about what could happen.”

Wasatch County’s fire risk level is currently also high. There are no restrictions in place, but brush burning requires a burn permit, which the county is still issuing.

For the latest fire and emergency information in Summit, text “SCFIREINFO” to 888777. Visit wasatchcountyfire.com for Wasatch County updates.

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.
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