After containing a grass fire that exploded on Salt Lake's north bench Thursday afternoon, Fire Capt. Gordon Nicholl warned about the upcoming holiday weekend, saying "I sincerely hope this is not a prelude of what is to come."
Fire restrictions on state and Forest Service lands were implemented Friday because of dangerously dry conditions, and enforcement officers will be closely watching holiday campers. The restriction includes Box Elder, Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, Utah and Juab counties, said Kathy Jo Pollock, Forest Service public affairs officer.Campfires are only allowed in recreation sites where grills or fireplaces are provided. Smoking is also prohibited outside cars or buildings. "If they're in a developed recreation site they can smoke in the open as long as they're in a 3-foot diameter ring barren of any flammable material," Pollock said.
Fireworks are prohibited on state and federal lands.
Violators face fines of up to $500 and the possibility of a six-month jail term.
Continued hot weather coupled with fireworks over the July 24th weekend could keep firefighters even busier than they have been the last few days fighting multiple fires in Utah and Wyoming.
"We got lucky today," Nicholl said about the blaze that destroyed seven acres of brush on Ensign Peak. "But if things keep going the way they have, the whole north bench will go up."
The fire broke out about 2 p.m. near a dirt road that is heavily traveled by four-wheelers and motorcyclists, Nicholl said. It took more than 100 firefighters from six agencies nearly 4 1/2 hours to extinguish the flames.
Fire plagued other areas of Utah Thursday.
In Provo Canyon, a brush fire near Squaw Peak Trail charred 40 acres.
The mountain fire continued over a ridge and to a small basin, where firefighters halted the blaze about 6:30 p.m.
A total of 92 firefighters tackled a 280-acre wildfire 45 miles northwest of Cedar City at Indian Peak that was expected to be contained by 6 p.m. Friday, according to a dispatcher.
Fire crews started leaving Friday morning. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Officials believe it may have been man-caused.
The fire did not threaten any structures, burning in a remote area dotted with old mining claims.
And in Wyoming, firefighters used a man-made, back-burn fire to hamper the spreading blaze in the Bridger-Teton National Forest's Teton Wilderness. However, forest officials say the fire is a "long way" from being contained.
The back-burn fire on 2,000 acres of tinder-dry trees on the southern edge gave firefighters hope of suppressing the fire that erupted last weekend.
Firefighters ignited the area by dropping chemical-filled ping-pong balls from a helicopter.
The controlled burn, which was intended to keep the flames from spreading into a dense area of trees, has allowed crews to get that part of the fire 50 percent contained.
Once the southern side of the fire is contained, suppression work will turn to the northern side, some two miles from Yellowstone National Park.
Another fire, to the south in the forest's Bridger Wilderness, had expanded to about 300 acres by Thursday.
All park operations are open, although Yellowstone officials have placed some restrictions on open fires and camping.
The next largest blaze in the park is the fire in the northwestern corner, covering about 3,128 acres.
A fire near Grassy Lake in the southwest corner of the park was estimated to cover 385 acres. It is being contained along its southern boundary to prevent it from spreading into the Targhee National Forest.