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Utah Wildfire Concerns

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  • Utah Wildfire Concerns

    Wildfires spark concerns

    Leavitt urges Utahns to use fireworks safely
    By Joseph M. Dougherty
    Deseret Morning News

    Last year, some 716 wildfires blackened Utah's landscape, and the governor's office says half of the blazes were human caused.
    At a news conference, Gov. Mike Leavitt announced a wildfire prevention campaign Wednesday called "Do Your Part — Don't Start Wildfires."
    He held up some skyrockets and bottle rockets as he said illegal fireworks, such as the ones he held, are some of the culprits in human-caused fires.
    Currently, Utah has the highest incidence of drought in the United States, worsening conditions for wildfires. All of Utah is classified on the U.S. Drought Monitor as having extreme or exceptional drought conditions, the only state in its predicament.
    State Fire Marshal Gary Wise said this time of year is a great time for people to celebrate their freedoms, but to do so safely. People can be safe by doing the following:

    Only use legal fireworks.

    Children should have adult supervision.

    Stay away from flammable objects.

    Have water available in case of emergency.

    "I would encourage the public to do its part," he said. "Discourage your neighbors from using illegal fireworks."

    Wise said before people call police to confiscate fireworks and cite neighbors for illegal fireworks possession — which can result in a $1,000 fine and six months in jail — they can ask neighbors if they want to be responsible for burning a house down.
    What about juveniles who might cruise up to Evanston, Wyo., to get illegal fireworks?
    Parents can simply turn illegal fireworks in to the nearest fire department without fear of being cited, he said.
    Firefighters will then destroy them by soaking them in water.
    A new Web site at www.utahfireinfo.gov was launched Wednesday to provide wildland fire information. Currently, the Apex, Woodenshoe and Fin Canyon fires and their status are listed on the Web site.
    Front line since 1983 and still going strong

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