Jun 22, 2017

Guv says more fireworks bans likely with Utah's tinder-dry conditions

Lee Davidson The Salt Lake Tribune
The Salt Lake Tribune
Gary Herbert, Utah governor. Photo: Tribune file photo
Gary Herbert, Utah governor. Photo: Tribune file photo

With tinderlike conditions in Utah — shown by the huge, quickly spreading Brian Head Fire — Gov. Gary Herbert warns that more bans on fire and fireworks are likely coming, including the possibility of a statewide fireworks ban. "That remains to be seen," he said during his monthly news conference on KUED.


The governor said about half the wildfires in Utah usually are caused by man. "That means they are preventable. This year to date, three-quarters of all the fires we've had are man-caused."

That includes the Brian Head Fire, caused by a man using a torch to burn weeds.

"Just this last week alone, we've had 25 wildfires. And we had one in the middle of Orem. Eight of these have threatened structures. So we the people need to be more diligent and vigilant in our activities outdoors," he said.

"Be particularly mindful of the tinderlike conditions we have out there with a hot summer," he pleaded. "Be careful of firearms, fireworks."

The governor said the state plans to work with and support local officials in what they feel is needed in their communities, and will monitor conditions and impose bans as needed.

Some reports have said wildfires are a result of drier conditions caused by global warming, so Herbert was asked if Utah may do more to fight it after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

"Whether the Paris accord is there or not, Utah is going to continue to advance sustainability, [and] affordable and cleaner energy development," such as wind power and solar, he said.

Herbert added that he believes the state already does what it can to prevent global warming, and that Utahns are "working hard to make sure we are good stewards of the Earth."