BOX ELDER COUNTY – By Ellen Cook, Headliner Media Specialist – July 19, 2021
Box Elder County is burning up as record high temperatures and lack of rain continue to wreak havoc in northern Utah. Because of the dry conditions, the State Forester’s office has issued a Stage 2 Fire Restriction Order in the county.
All fires are prohibited in unincorporated private and state-owned lands. That means “no building, maintaining, attending or using any fire, campfire or stove fires, including charcoal grills and barbecues, coal or wood burning stoves or tent stoves.”
The restricted areas include homes, developed camping areas or picnic grounds.
This is a tighter restriction than what was allowed at Stage 1, according to County Fire Marshal Corey Barton. “In Stage 1 those in an approved campground could have a campfire or those with a backyard pit could build a fire. No more,” he said. “You can’t have one at home or any place right now. It is just too dry.”
Additionally, no fireworks, tracer ammunition or pyrotechnic devices will be allowed within those same areas. Barton said during the 4th of July holiday, fire wardens were out patrolling and educating the public of the fireworks restriction. “This go-round they will be issuing citations in the unincorporated areas.”
The fire restriction order further states that cutting, welding or grinding metal near dry vegetation is prohibited and small internal combustion engines without a working spark arrester, including motorcycles, chainsaws or ATVs, are not allowed. Smoking, except within a closed vehicle, trailer or building, or on a paved area free of dry vegetation, could also warrant a fine.
Barton noted that residents, for the most part, “have been pretty good. People need to understand where they are and what the restrictions are. Then they just need to follow them.”
Violating the order is punishable by a jail sentence of up to six months or a fine up to $1,000.
These fire restrictions will remain in place until further notice from the State Forester’s office.
The County has also experienced an increase in fires along the freeway in recent weeks, according to Barton. He encourages those towing boats, trailers or other vehicles to make sure their towing chain is at least six inches off the ground. “Folks think if their chain is not touching, it is okay, but all they have to do is hit a bump and it hits the ground. Those safety chains are causing a lot of fires for us right now.”
Barton urges residents to be proactive to help reduce all fires this summer.
“Please follow the restrictions. Please know where you are at. Eighty percent of fires are human-caused. Please don’t be the one who does it.”