Wind, summer heat kick up potentially devastating wildfire season in Utah
"We've done a really good job in difficult conditions to contain these fires," Herbert said. "We fight fires as well as anybody."
Lynn Barclay, spokeswoman for the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit in Craig, Colo., said the weekend forecast is for hot, dry conditions. She also asked the public to be careful with fire.
"If it's windy, don't even strike the match," Barclay said.
The unit there is tracking 13 new fires, sparked by more than 400 reported lightning strikes in the area Thursday, including one burning on the Colorado side of Utah's Dinosaur National Monument.
Buehler said local crews are helping to battle a more than 60-acre fire burning near Desolation Canyon and three fires on Elk Ridge, west of Blanding, have smoke jumpers on them to effort a quick containment.
Herbert said the state has adequate resources to keep on top of things, but he'd rather not spend Utah's more than $300 million in rainy-day funds on fighting fires that are human-caused.
"We need to be vigilant, be proactive and use common sense in preventing fires from starting in the first place," he said. In addition to care while recreating on Utah's public lands, Herbert said structures need to be free of debris, hot vehicles kept away from dry grass, and fireworks, which are now regulated by individual city governments, should be used in safe zones and in accordance with local restrictions.
Park City is the first city in the state to enact restrictions on fireworks, banning class C fireworks at a City Council meeting Thursday. Anything from firecrackers to aerial blasts are banned through Halloween this year in the city. Other communities are expected to follow suit as summer gets underway.
Citing a "great response from citizens," State Fire Marshal Coy Porter said fireworks-related fires were kept to a minimum last year. "We're counting on everyone to be responsible again this year."
In addition to fireworks, Herbert also cautioned against using exploding targets while target shooting, which is believed to have sparked the 5,500-acre Dump Fire in Saratoga Springs last June. That fire prompted widespread evacuations and scrutinized the practice of shooting on dry lands.
He also said campers need to keep an eye on campfires, burning them in designated pits where available, and making sure ashes are fully doused before leaving them unattended.
"It's really up to us," Herbert said. "Let's not have a fire to stop in the first place. Let's eliminate the fires that are human-caused."
Contributing: Geoff Liesik, Sam Penrod, Andrew Adams
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