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Wildfire decline due to restrictions on guns and fireworks

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SALT LAKE CITY — In spite of the new fires today, most of the wildfires have died down from the rampage earlier this summer in June. Since the recent rainstorms, the grass and weeds are not as dry and explosive as they were about 3 or 4 weeks ago. But maybe, the improved fire situation also has something to do with restrictions on guns and fireworks.

Jason Curry, from the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands, gave insights into the decline of fires.

"Right now, things are looking great, but when humidity drops, vegetation dries out quickly," he said. "We have to be cautious still. We're still getting human caused fires on a daily-basis throughout the state. The higher humidity and the rain has allowed us to get a handle on those fires a little bit more quickly. But in reality they're still happening and there still is quite a bit of danger."

We have to be cautious still. We're still getting human caused fires on a daily-basis throughout the state.

–Jason Curry, Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands

Indeed, the fire season is only half over. So far, firefighters have responded to about 600 wild land fires in Utah. Surprisingly, only one of those was started by fireworks.

Curry attributes it to tougher fireworks restrictions and greater public awareness of the threat.

"I think everybody is on such high alert right now that I think those restrictions are taking a little bit stronger hold in people's minds and everybody's watching out for one another."

Also, because many of the fires earlier this summer were caused by sparks from guns, restrictions have also been imposed on target shooters. Since then, not a single wildfire has been sparked by guns.

"We went from having some fires to having zero fires," Curry said. "So, yeah, there's been an impact." Even though the fire outbreak has declined, the restrictions are still in place. After 11:00 p.m. tonight, fireworks are banned until New Years.

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John Hollenhorst


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