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Heightened fire restrictions placed on state lands

WASATCH FRONT – The extremely dry conditions and hot temperature have state fire watchers tightening their restriction on certain activities on state and unincorporated lands along the Wasatch Front.

Of course, campfires are one of the things being restricted.  “This is not an all-out campfire ban,” according to Jason Curry with Forestry, Fire and State Lands.  “It is a restriction on certain types of campfires.  The most dangerous campfires.”

The restrictions prohibit people from building a campfire unless it’s near a residence with running water, or if it’s in a specifically designated pit.  However, there could be some changes from one campsite to another.  Curry says, “For example, you might go to a state park and they may feel like they don’t want campfires, even if there’s a fire pit.”

Other restrictions include smoking, unless it’s in a car, trailer, building or on a paved recreation area.  Fireworks, exploding targets and tracer rounds are also prohibited.  Plus, people are not allowed to weld, cut or grind on any areas of dry vegetation.

Also prohibited is the use of any vehicle or chainsaw that isn’t equipped with a spark arrestor.  Curry says it’s a screen that’s added to exhaust pipes that prevent sparks from flying out.  He says, “If it’s [from the] factory, if it’s stock, it’s going to have a spark arrestor already installed from the manufacturer.  If you’ve altered the exhaust pipe, then you’re not allowed to operate that on private land that’s unincorporated or state land without a spark arrestor.”

Curry adds that even though the temperatures have dipped, fuels along the Wasatch Front are as dry as paper.  So, a one-thousand-degree ember is all it takes to set many parts of the state ablaze.