WILDFIRE • This wildfire near Eureka destroyed two structures and burned 444 acres. The cause was still under investigation but thought to be human-caused. Wildfire officials urge citizens to be mindful of the severe drought conditions throughout the state , follow all state restrictions and be fire-wise when they are recreating.
By Myrna Trauntvein
Two structures were destroyed after a quickly-spreading fire, named the Goat Springs Fire, broke out on the Simpson Mountains in Juab County.
The blaze prompted a new round of warnings from firefighters and state officials because of the extremely high drought conditions. Currently, 100 percent of the state of Utah is in a drought, with 90 percent in an extreme drought condition.
Juab County is one of those areas in an extreme drought condition.
“Utah is tinder-dry right now, we don’t predict that’s going to get better, please help us not to burn the state down,” said Brian Steed, Executive Director for the Utah Department of Natural Resources.
The Goat Springs Fire ignited about 40 miles west of Eureka May 28 and Utah Fire Info officials said it burned 444 acres west of Eureka and destroyed at least two structures.
By June 1, it was 95 percent contained.
During the week, the local unit resumed command of the fire. It is planned mop up and rehab work will continue through the week.
Smoke may still be visible within the surrounding area of the fire.
“This will be the last update unless significant changes occur,” according to Utah Fire Info.
“With the help from air resources, crews were able to extinguish hot spots and finish line around the fire perimeter on the Goat Springs Fire,” said Kayli Yardley with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
Local and federal crews worked to contain the fire. Heavy airtankers and single engine airtankers (SEATs) were also called to the scene.
The blaze was originally estimated at 40 acres around 2 p.m. Friday, May 28, but increased due to gusty winds in the area.
“The steep, rugged terrains, pushing with the winds, have not helped,” said Yardley.
Several local and federal resources, including heavy air tankers and SEATs, were called out to help stop the flames, according to a tweet from the Utah Fire Info.
Officials said it was human-caused but remains under investigation.
“Eighty-seven percent of wildfires take place because they’re human-caused,” said Yardley.
According to Kait Webb, spokesperson for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, 185 wildfires have already burned more than 6,000 acres across the state, and all but three of those fires have been human-caused.
“Target shooting and other firearm activities are responsible for a relatively high number of fires this year,” said Webb.
She said it’s critical for people to be aware of the weather and use safe targets and ammunition.
Tips for preventing wildfires in these dangerous conditions come from the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands are below:
Target shooting: Be aware of current weather and fuel conditions, especially Red Flag Warnings. Use safe ammunition and targets and find an appropriate backdrop void of rocks and vegetation. Have a shovel and water or a fire extinguisher with you.
Exploding targets: Only use in legal areas, exploding targets aren’t allowed on most public lands. Never use near dry vegetation.
Campfires: Keep fires at a manageable size. Never leave a fire unattended. Properly extinguish campfires using the Drown, Stir and Feel method.
Equipment: Whether you are working, recreating or traveling be aware that any equipment can cause a fire. Be mindful of your surroundings. Maintenance of tires, brakes and exhaust is a simple and crucial preventative measure. Never park on or drive over dry vegetation
Debris burning: Make the proper notifications. Be aware of current and predicted weather and fuel conditions. Be prepared to suppress the fire if needed.
Be aware of current conditions and act accordingly: Check for fire restrictions and watch for Red Flag Warnings. Pay attention to on-going & upcoming predicted weather and fuel conditions.
Governor Spencer Cox kicked off the new statewide wildfire prevention campaign and urged Utahns to exercise “Fire Sense” and do their part to prevent wildfires.
The initiative aims to remind Utahns to recreate responsibly and be mindful of the potential for wildfire amid extremely dry conditions.
“Where we are and where we’re starting from is not good, it’s no secret that we’re facing one of the driest years that we’ve had,” said Governor Cox. “I’m asking all Utahns, and I’m begging all Utahns right now to do their part to prevent wildfires.”
“Fire Sense” is an interagency fire awareness campaign that hopes to make the public aware of the drought conditions and potential for wildfire right now in Utah.