Warning to hunters: fire restrictions still in place

Utah Division of Wildlife Resource officials are warning people to stay out of Wildlife Management Areas that are closed to the public.

SALT LAKE CITY – Big game hunting season is in full swing and the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest officials and wants to remind hunters and other forest users that the forest is unusually dry for this time of year.

The East Fork Fire one of 1,392 wildfires this year most are human caused.

And because of predicted warming trends the forest service has extended the stage 1 fire restrictions until October 15, 2020. Under these restrictions, fires, campfires, charcoal, coal and wood stoves are allowed only in developed campgrounds.

Kaitlyn Webb Statewide Prevention and Fire Communications Coordinator said this year there have been 1,392 wildfires in Utah, 1,072 of those fires were human caused and they have charred approximately 294,930 acres.

It’s important for hunters to remember that Fire Restrictions remain in effect across most of Utah due to continued dry conditions,” she said.” Although temperatures are cooler, we still haven’t received the precipitation needed to significantly reduce wildfire risk.”

Webb said hunters are used to being able to have open campfires this time of year but given the potential that still exists for wildfires that isn’t allowed right now.”

Smoking is prohibited except within enclosed vehicles, buildings, in developed campgrounds, or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material.

Kathy Jo Pollock from the US Forest Service would like to remind people that using a device that is solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off is allowed in areas that are clear of flammable materials.

“The Forest Service would like to remind all Forest users to follow ‘Tread Lightly’ principle,” she said. “Travel only where motorized vehicles are permitted, stay on designated routes, and avoid streams, lakeshores, meadows, muddy roads, trails and steep hillsides.”

A file photo of deer drinking from a lake in Cache County Courtesy: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Pollock said it is the responsibility of all hunters and other Forest users to obtain Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM’s), which show roads and trails that are designated open to motorized vehicles.

Forest users should be aware that roads and trails could close early for safety reasons due to inclement weather conditions. Hunters and other users may be asked to leave these areas in the event of an early closure. Under no circumstances are motorized vehicles allowed off-designated roads and trails, not even to retrieve game.

Hunters and other Forest users should always keep safety in mind and be adequately prepared for weather conditions to change.

It is wise to check with your local Forest Service office that manages the area you are planning to visit to obtain current road, trail, and campground and weather conditions before you leave.

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