Many of the season’s fire restrictions across Utah have been lifted as officials say cooler temperatures and higher moisture levels are lessening the risk of wildfires.
State fire managers lifted the 2012 restrictions, including the use of campfires and target shooting, as of midnight Friday on Bureau of Land Management, state and unincorporated private lands, ABC 4 reported.
The BLM, however, still advises the public to be aware of varying fire restrictions within the limits of some cities and towns, which might have different guidelines. In addition, a BLM ban on target shooting remains in effect on about 900 acres west of Utah Lake.
“The danger isn’t gone and the fire season isn’t over yet,” said State Forester Dick Buehler. “We still need to use good safe campfire practices and everyone needs to be careful doing anything that might lead to wildfire.”
Officials also say anyone wanting to conduct agricultural or debris burns must still obtain a permit.
Wildfires have burned more than 700 square miles across the state this year at a cost of more than $50 million.
Officials have said the state’s share of that bill, after federal money is contributed, will exceed $16 million, forcing them to seek additional funds from the Legislature which only budgets $3 million annually to fight wildfires.
Michael Styler, director of Utah’s Department of Natural Resources, has said that is the largest-ever supplemental appropriation for firefighting in the state. He expects another $8 million will be needed to re-seed and rehabilitate the burned areas after a season that saw more than 1,000 fires.