SALT LAKE CITY — It may be damp outside, but state fire officials warn it is only a matter of time before vegetation dries out and much of the state is at risk for wildfires.
"The drought is intensifying and the snowpack is abysmal," said Jason Curry, spokesman with the Utah Division of Fire, Forestry and State Lands. "We know right now going into the 2018 wildfire season that the water content in what snow we do have is very low and the drought is worsening."
The latest assessment of drought conditions across the country show that all of Utah is in some sort of drought classification, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
What that means, Curry warns, is that it is not a matter of if, but when, a wildfire breaks out.
"Everybody who has a concern for wildfire danger should take a look at their property," he said, adding there are little things a homeowner can do to create "defensible" space around their residence to make it less likely to burn.Comment on this story
"These are basic and pretty small actions" that can make a big difference, he said.
The National Fire Protection Association offers a bevy of information on how homeowners can minimize their fire risk. The association also includes tips on emergency preparedness and how to develop a fire evacuation plan.
Last year's fire season in Utah was busy and marked by two significantly expensive wildfires — the Brian Head and Uintah fires.
Curry said it would be ideal if the state had a damp summer to temper wildfire threats, but he is not overly optimistic.