Summit County fire risk reduced to moderate as fall weather approaches |

Summit County fire risk reduced to moderate as fall weather approaches

Forecast calls for cooler temperatures, precipitation

Summit County fire crews, including the Park City Fire District and the North Summit Fire District, responded to two fires over Labor Day weekend that were worsened by hot, dry conditions. Fire danger was reduced from high to moderate on Friday as cooler temperatures spread across the Wasatch Back, but officials still urge caution.
Courtesy of the North Summit Fire District

Summit County’s fire danger was increased to high before Labor Day weekend, but the anticipated arrival of fall weather brought the rating down to moderate on Friday.

Temperatures have started to cool across the Wasatch Back and the upcoming forecast calls for more precipitation than in previous weeks, prompting the fire danger to be reduced. Factors such as high heat, wind and dry conditions often heighten fire danger, according to Summit County Fire Warden Bryce Boyer.

The Salt Lake Valley experienced record-breaking temperatures earlier this month, with some places reaching 15 degrees above normal. There were at least two blazes in Summit County over Labor Day weekend, when fire danger was high. 

The Park City Fire District and North Summit Fire District responded to a fire on Sept. 3 near Riverbend Road in Wanship. The blaze started in an unoccupied RV and spread to a small section of a barn before it was quickly extinguished. The next day, fire crews responded to a structure fire in Huff Creek. The fire started in a barn and spread to two other buildings, resulting in the complete loss of all three structures. It burned an estimated three acres. Officials said hot, dry conditions paired with wind caused the fires to grow and spread.

But as the weather begins to change, so does the level of danger. 

Utah’s fire season typically runs from early June to late October with reduced risk as autumn nears. The upcoming forecast predicts temperatures in the mid-70s during the day with scattered showers early in the week. Mild conditions are expected starting Thursday night. Yet fire danger can go up again if high temperatures with low relative humidity return.

Monsoonal rains in early August helped keep fuel sources moist, which reduced the risk of fires starting and limited the amount of burn time for those that did ignite. Cooler temperatures at night are also crucial because of the relief provided to dried-out vegetation, which would otherwise be susceptible to a blaze.

This year, there have been 875 fires in Utah, with 411 of them being human-caused, that have burned around 25,000 acres as of mid-September. There were 1,055 fires reported around this time last year and approximately 49% were caused by people.

Officials continue to urge Parkites to practice smart fire sense throughout the rest of the season to keep the likelihood of fire low. 

Safety tips include clearing out dead debris near campfires and staying with one until it’s completely extinguished and cold to the touch, ensuring vehicles are properly maintained and having firefighting tools close by.

Text SCFIREINFO to 888777 for updates about current fire conditions and active fires in Summit County.

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