4 summer activities you love that could pose a threat to Utah’s outdoors
When it comes to enjoying the outdoors, Utah’s outdoor enthusiasts are in for a treat. Offering a bit of everything, Utah’s scenery and adventure possibilities are top notch among those seeking outdoor fun.
But, as Ben Parker (probably) would put it, “with good outdoor activities there is great responsibility.”
2020 has had its fair share of struggles, and unfortunately Utah’s landscape has not escaped the blight it could have avoided had Utahn been more careful. There were 1,539 fires started in 2020, which burned more than 316,308 acres in Utah in 2020. This is a significant increase from 2019 and 2018, which recorded 1,083 and 1,396 fire starts.
Of the 1,539 fires that started in 2020, 1,202 of them were started by people, Annie Knox told Deseret News. This means that 4 out of 5 fires in Utah in 2020 were started by humans. Of all the records broken by 2020, the people who have started a record number of wildfires in the state are not the kind to be proud of.
There are several outdoor activities that the Utahns enjoy participating in, under poor conditions some of them could pose a threat to the Utah outdoors if done irresponsibly. Here are some steps you can do by participating in these outdoor activities to take proactive forest fire precautions.
After being locked inside for a year, camping has become popular, says Forbes. Many campgrounds and parks have posted record numbers over the past year, and the appeal of camping doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
If camping is on your schedule, make sure you are aware of fire hazards, especially when it comes to campfires. Many areas of Utah often have fire restrictions during the summer. Information on statewide fire restrictions is posted on UtahFireInfo.gov and many campground entries. Be sure to check before camping for restrictions on your destination and be aware of upcoming weather forecasts, especially red flag warnings.
If there are no restrictions and you have a campfire, remember Utah Fire Info’s advice to always maintain the campfire, keeping it no taller than four feet wide and high. Don’t leave him alone. Once you are done, extinguish and stir your campfire several times until it is cool to the touch before leaving or walking away from it, otherwise it could start a wildfire.
Each year, Utah Fire Info reports that hundreds of acres of Utah’s landscape are scorched by wildfires triggered by target fire.
If you like shooting, make sure you only shoot at targets in designated areas – the best backdrop is dirt, sand or gravel, always avoid areas with dry vegetation and rocks.
In addition, steel-core or pure copper bullets and other incendiary or tracer shells should be avoided as they can project sparks into nearby vegetation. Paper or clay targets and lead bullets are recommended for shooting outdoors. Don’t shoot on windy days.
Note: Currently, explosive targets are prohibited on all Forest Service, National Park Service, and BLM lands, in addition to all lands in Utah and Tooele Counties.
With all the great ATV trails around Utah, it’s no wonder that so many people are spending time off-road.
At the same time, recreational vehicles generate a lot of heat on the undercarriage, which poses a risk when driving or parking on dry vegetation, especially in hot and windy weather.
The best way to prevent a fire from starting because of your ATV is to use a spark arrester and park your vehicle away from dry vegetation, says Utah Fire Info. While a parked ATV may seem harmless, all it takes is the right combination of heat and dry vegetation to start a wildfire.
Towing of boats and other vehicles
While you may be wondering how towing a trailer can pose a threat outside of Utah, there are a surprising number of wildfires caused by the collapsing or dragging of connected chains. to a towed trailer.
So before you go to the lake or campsite, make sure your tow chains are high enough that they won’t drag around and create sparks.
Most forest fires in Utah are preventable. Do your part today to take care of Utah’s outdoor activities by consciously taking precautions in any outdoor activity you participate in. For more information on how to prevent wildfires this year, visit UtahFireInfo.gov or follow @UtahWildfire on Twitter and Facebook.