Record editorial: Rocky Mountain Power sparks action on wildfire safety
The days are becoming shorter and students in the Park City School District headed back to classes on Tuesday, two of the surest signs the summer is ending soon.
But the temperatures this week remain high and the weather pattern is dry. It is still fire season in Utah and conditions will likely lead to a heightened threat for another few weeks. Summit County has not suffered a serious wildfire this summer even though the conditions have been ripe for weeks. Independence Day and Pioneer Day were both relatively uneventful for the area’s emergency responders.
The people who live here as well as the late-summer and early fall visitors, though, must remain vigilant even as autumn arrives. The most devastating of wildfires in the West sometimes are not extinguished until the snow falls.
There will be people in coming weeks enjoying the last camping trip of the year in the Uinta Mountains or throwing one final barbecue in neighborhoods like Old Town or Summit Park.
They must note their surroundings. There are places across Summit County where the forests reach the edge of a neighborhood, called the wildland-urban interface. A fire in such a location could quickly spread, in a matter of hours devastating decades, or in the case of Old Town, more than a century, of history. The resort infrastructure would be at risk. The area benefitted from favorable conditions this spring, but as fall approaches, diligence and caution are needed to keep the fire risk at bay.
Rocky Mountain Power, the electric utility, is among those that closely monitor the wildfire hazard. A fire could have destructive consequences on the firm’s infrastructure. The company on Thursday has scheduled an event in Park City centered on safety and preparing for a wildfire. Representatives are expected to outline what the company describes as a shutoff safety measure designed to reduce the risks of a wildfire. The measure essentially involves turning off the power at the highest-risk times in certain locations.
The event is public, but it appears to be designed for people who live in the area that could suffer a cut in power if necessary, including the upper section of Old Town. It is scheduled from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Thursday at the Park City Library.
Although summer is ending soon, Parkites can display the same respect for the threat of wildfire as shown by Rocky Mountain Power by taking steps to protect their properties.
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