Fire restrictions implemented for Summit County |

Fire restrictions implemented for Summit County

Includes ban on open fires and fireworks

A sign overlooking the Swaner Nature Preserve on Highland Drive addresses the current fire danger.
(Angelique McNaughton/Park Record)

Open fires and fireworks are now prohibited in the unincorporated areas of Summit County as extremely dry temperatures are expected to continue, according to Bryce Boyer, Summit County fire warden.

Thursday, the State Forester, with advice from the Summit County Council, determined that fire restrictions must be implemented to prevent the ignition of forest and rangeland fires.

“We had a few people burning without notification and without permits,” Boyer said. “But, the biggest one is, looking at forecasting and seeing that it is expected to stay hot and dry with little to no precipitation, as well as looking at the lightning coming in. We are looking at limiting what is human-started so we have the resources to battle the naturally occurring fires.”

The county-wide fire restrictions will remain effective until the weather conditions change or the end of October, Boyer said. However, the order does not affect private lands within incorporated towns or city limits or land that falls within the national forests. Boyer said he expects the East Side municipalities to address the issue during upcoming council meetings.

The ban restricts the following:

  • Setting, building, maintaining, attending or using open fires of any kind, except within the facilities designated for them in improved campgrounds, picnic areas or homesites where running water is present.
  • Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer or building, a developed recreation site or while stopping in an area that is paved and free from dry vegetation.
  • Discharging or using any kind of fireworks, tracer ammunition or other pyrotechnic devices including exploding targets.
  • Cutting, welding or grinding metal in areas of dry vegetation.
  • Operating a motorcycle, chainsaw, ATV or other small internal combustion engine without an approved and working spark arrestor.

A violation of the restriction could result in up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, people with permits or waivers authorizing a specific act at a specific location and on-duty firefighters are exempt from the restrictions.

Boyer said another factor in the decision is the ongoing fires that are occurring statewide. He said three small fires were started in the East Side on the Fourth of July, including one along Interstate 80. The other incidents occurred in Henefer, but never grew beyond an acre.

“We had a vehicle pull off along the Old Echo Road off I-80 and thought it would be fun shooting fireworks in the brush,” Boyer said. “Luckily, we were able to contain that quickly and get resources on it quick.”

Boyer said fire officials spent most of the day Thursday near the Weber Canyon and Samak posting the restrictions and distributing information to the homeowner’s associations in the area.

“We are watching it and will be revaluating it every two weeks,” Boyer said. “I am in constant communication with the fire department officials and county elected officials. We have also been reaching out to each of the cities to let them know what is going on and will leave this in place until conditions change.”

Summit County