NEWS RELEASE FROM:
State of Utah
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Early Season Wildfires Caused by Private Burning
Salt Lake City, Utah –Fire officials are issuing a caution as
warmer weather arrives. Already this year, a handful of
fires that were initially ignited by individuals wanting to clear dead
grass or dispose of organic waste have escaped
control when they were not being tended and flared up or when unexpected
winds carried embers into dry grass.
Every spring, fire departments throughout Utah respond to dozens of
fenceline and debris burns that escape control.
These fires destroy rangeland, private property and homes. As conditions
dry out, these are typically the first wildland
fires of the season and they are all preventable. Fire management officers
recommend taking some simple precautions
before igniting to ensure fewer escaped fires.
1. Clear away vegetation to create firebreaks between burn areas and
adjacent fields, structures and trees
2. Never burn on windy days, check your local weather forecast and plan
to have fire out cold before afternoon
3. Keep a charged hose and a shovel nearby (if a hose isn’t possible,
5-gallon water buckets)
4. Never leave the fire unattended
5. Notify your local fire department of your intention to burn; some
departments may offer to put a fire engine on
standby at your burn.
Notification of the nearest fire department before burning is required
by law in ALL CASES (failure to do so is a
Class B misdemeanor). Many of the costly and embarrassing experiences
so far this year could have been avoided
with a simple phone call. Preparation beforehand can make the difference
between success and disaster. In addition to
preparations, slow and gradual lighting of an area allows for greater
control of a fire’s pace.
Open burning is regulated on a state level by state law and rule. Most
counties and cities also have ordinances, so,
people wishing to burn fields, ditches and waste piles should determine
whether it is legal to burn before lighting
anything. Yard debris and slash piles are governed by stricter county
and city laws, so the public should consult local
ordinances. In addition, many areas are subject to Department of Environmental
Quality requirements. It is always the responsibility of the person
lighting and tending the fire to take the needed precautions and prevent
escape. A permit or notification call does not relieve a person from
liability if the fire gets away or
damages someone else’s property, so good judgment is advised.
Fire suppression is expensive.
If the fire gets away –then what?
Despite preparations, fire can still escape. If things begin to get
out of hand, regardless of whether the fire is legal or
not, it should be PUT OUT AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.
If it escapes control, do not put yourself or others at risk, call 911
Burning is not the only option for getting rid of debris; in fact it
is a major source of air pollution. Many landfills have
sites available for organic material disposal. Cities and counties restrict
open burning to October through May
and a permit is required in most cases after May 31.
Contact: Jason Curry
FFSL Public Information Officer
(801) 538-7302 or (801) 703-0225