Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

July 22, 2021
BLM announces fire restrictions for northern Utah public lands

Extreme drought brings more restrictions 

On the heels of stage 2 fire restrictions announced earlier this week by the state, the Bureau of Land Management has announced  stage 2 fire restrictions for Cache, Morgan, Rich, Salt Lake, Summit, Tooele, Utah, Wasatch, and Weber counties.

The restrictions are designed to prevent losses from human-caused wildfires brought on by extreme drought, high fire danger conditions, and the increased use of public lands, according to BLM officials.

All BLM public lands in Utah, except for the Vernal Field Office, have now implemented stage 2 fire restrictions.  

 “Utah’s fire season started in January, and a year-round fire season has become the norm, and not the exception,” said BLM Utah State Fire Management Officer Chris Delaney. “This is the earliest that we have entered into National Wildfire Preparedness Level 5 in the last 10 years, and we do not have the resources to maintain this level of deployment on fire incidents — we need the public’s help.”  

These fire restrictions will include multiple measures to help BLM public lands safe and accessible as the risk of human-caused wildfires increases. 

“Human-caused fires remain the biggest threat to public lands,” said BLM Utah State Director Greg Sheehan. “While we have not seen recent catastrophic wildfires on BLM public lands, all it takes is one spark. The best way for the public to help protect resources, communities, and our firefighters is to follow the restrictions. You know the fire drill, please use Fire Sense.” 

 The phrase “you know the fire drill” is central to Utah’s new Fire Sense campaign, focused on common-sense practices to help prevent human-caused wildfires. 

“We want the public to continue enjoying BLM’s public lands, but disregarding fire restrictions can quickly turn a camping trip into a tragedy,” said West Desert District Manager Mike Gates. “Camp stoves and grills with a shut off valve can be used, but campfires are strictly banned at this time.” 

Recreational target shooters should be aware of current weather and fuel — vegetation — conditions, especially Red Flag Warnings. Use safe ammunition and targets and find an appropriate backdrop void of rocks and vegetation.  

Shooters must have a shovel and water or a fire extinguisher and only shoot in areas where legally allowed. 

 Stage 2 fire restrictions include: no open fires of any kind — compressed or liquid gas grills, stoves, and pellet fed smokers are allowed with at least three feet of clearance of flammable materials; no smoking cigarettes, except within an enclosed vehicle, building, developed recreation site or while stopped in a cleared area of at least three feet in diameter that is barren and cleared of all flammable material; no grinding, cutting, and welding of metal and no operation chainsaws, or other internal combustion engines without a properly installed USDA or Society of Automotive Engineers approved spark arresting device. 

Also included in the restrictions are: no use of any steel core, jacketed, and tipped ammunition of any caliber; no use of any tracer or incendiary ammunition of any caliber and no use of any off road vehicle that is not equipped with a properly installed and maintained spark arrestor —  spark arresters shall meet the 80% efficiency level standard when determined by the appropriate SAE recommended practices.

The use of any kind of explosives, incendiary or chemical devices, pyrotechnics or fireworks, or exploding targets is banned as well as the use of any sky lanterns, Chinese lanterns, fire balloons, acetylene balloons or similar devices. 

The restrictions of these specific activities will remain in place until human caused fires and fire dangers decrease, according to BLM officials.

 

Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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