WILDFIRES

Human-caused wildfires went from 893 to 450 in two years

Sep 27, 2022, 6:19 PM | Updated: 6:38 pm

A rap song about putting your campfires out.

A Western about proper target shooting.

A Zeus reminding you to make sure your chains aren’t dragging on the road.

“It’s great news,” Ted Black said.

Black is Utah’s fire marshal and likes all three of those ads because it appears they’re working.

“People like a message that’s a little bit funny, that’s entertaining and goes along in helping people to understand the need to do more,” said Black.

Those ads, and more, are part of Utah’s Fire Sense campaign.

They’re on TV, online, and on billboards.

The message?

Human-caused wildfires in Utah were getting out of hand and we all needed to do more to bring those numbers down.

“I think we have all seen the devastation fire causes,” Kelly Wickens said. who is a wildfire prevention officer with Utah’s Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands. “People lose their homes. They lose everything they’ve lived for and its gone.”

In 2020, there were 830 human-caused fires.

After that wildfire season, the state began its Fire Sense campaign as dry drought conditions got worse.

In 2021, that 830 went down to 525 human-caused wildfires.

So far this year, with the ads playing more than ever, there have been 450 human-caused wildfires.

“We have seen significant changes in human caused starts,” Wickens said.

That also means less money spent fighting wildfires.

$27 million dollars were spent in 2020 fighting them.

So far this year, only $5 million.

The fire sense campaign seems to be getting the attention of Utahns.

“That’s the message here is the citizens of Utah have stepped up in a big way,” Black said. “They’ve done a great job.”

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Human-caused wildfires went from 893 to 450 in two years