Officials issue advisory on wildfire fuel conditions for Eastern Great Basin area

Photo by Gavin Mills.

ST. GEORGE – The National Interagency Fire Center has issued an advisory on fuel conditions in the Eastern Great Basin.  The advisory is for extremely low fuel moisture levels and indicates that fire fighters should expect increased fire behavior as a result of the dry fuels.

The advisory states that: “Poor winter snowpack exacerbated by a warm and very dry spring across Utah has left dead and live fuel moistures much below normal for this time of year especially across mid and high elevations. Very dry heavy dead fuels are carrying fire efficiently and have thus far presented the greatest difficulty for firefighting resources. Current Sagebrush live fuel moisture values are 50-100 percent below normal for the time of year leading to advanced fire behavior…. These warm and dry conditions have led to record or near record Energy Release Component values across the state, surpassing the 2007 mid-June values in many areas.”

Long time residents of Washington County may remember that in 2006 and 2007 almost 25 percent of the total acreage of the county suffered damage by wildfire.  With these conditions in mind and with no relief in the weather predicted in the near future, we would like to remind everyone to please be careful with fire.

We can help keep our county safe by:

  • Abiding by the burn restrictions currently in place.  They prohibit
  • Setting, building, maintaining, attending or using open fire of any kind, except campfires and charcoal fires within agency approved fire pits and grills provided for in developed recreation sites and picnic areas or except as otherwise authorized.  Devices fueled by petroleum or LPG products are allowed in all locations.  In Zion National Park, campfires are not allowed in Watchman and South Campgrounds, but propane or gas stoves are permitted.
  • Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, camp trailer, building, developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least six feet in diameter that is barren or cleared to mineral soil.
  • Discharging, or using any kind of fireworks, tracer ammunition or other incendiary devices in any location on federal, state and unincorporated private lands.  Note that these acts are always prohibited on state and federal lands.
  • The cutting, welding or grinding of metal in areas of dry vegetation – federal, state and unincorporated private lands in Washington County
    • If you are burning within an approved fire pit or using gas grills stay with your fire.  Don’t leave it unattended.
    • Always extinguish your fire completely before you leave it.
    • Don’t throw lighted material from vehicles, including cigarettes.
    • Never park on, or drive through, dry grass.

If you live in a wildland interface area, be prepared for wildfire.

  • Provide for defensible space around your home and out buildings.
  • Have a wildfire action plan for your family.
  • Have your important documents and disaster kits ready to go in an emergency.
  • Leave early if a fire threatens your neighborhood.

Being safe with fire is an individual effort which provides benefits for all of us.

You can obtain additional information at:


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