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Utah Fire Season Has Been Mild -- So Far

Utah Fire Season Has Been Mild -- So Far



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John Daley Reporting"We're not there yet. Our fire season can go through October."

Several wildfires are burning in Utah today, but so far, this season is relatively quiet. Still, with plenty of dry grasses and other fuels out there, we're not out of the woods yet. Utah's drought led to serious wild fire danger in the Beehive State and numerous huge fires over the past several years. This year it's a different story.

Every fire season there's a complex mix of factors which determine how severe things will be, including weather and the condition of fuels like grasses. Are they tall and dry?

The biggest fire currently burning is on the west side of Utah Lake; it's about 30% contained. The Government Creek fire near the town of Elberta erupted yesterday when a lightening storm rolled through. Fire crews have been battling that blaze since then. It's about 1200 acres in size.

Two other much smaller fires are burning in northern Utah, one east of Oakley, the other in the Twin Peaks area of the Wasatch Front. Fire officials say none of them poses a major threat, but...

Kathy Jo Pollock, Forest Service Spokesperson: "We could still have some really high temperatures, in the 90s even, and so that's still going to dry out the fine fuels, the grasses and unless we continue to get this precipitation, our fire season could go until October."

The last several years Utah has seen some extremely large, fast-moving, hot-burning and dangerous blazes. What's different this year? More moisture.

Kathy Jo Pollock, Forest Service Spokesperson: "The grasses still up in the high country have gotten a lot of precipitation and it hasn't completely cured our dried out like on the west side of the state. So the fires are laying down fairly quickly and crews are able to get a handle on them."

Everything of course is dependent on the weather. If things get really hot there is plenty of fuel to burn and it still become a busy fire season in a hurry.

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