(KUTV) — Washington County begin its closed fire season two weeks earlier this year starting Wednesday.
Closed fire season - restricted burning outside city limits that may require permits - typically starts in June.
However, higher-than-average temperatures paired with lower-than-average rainfall are to blame for the early closure. Multiple cities and towns in the area may also be affected.
Debris burning is a major cause of wildfires and not following the closed fire season restrictions can lead to severe consequences including jail time.
“This can put the lives and property of their friends and neighbors in jeopardy,” said Mike Melton, SW Utah Fire Management Officer with the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
It is recommended that debris be taken to a landfill or properly covered and stored, and burned once a permit has been obtained and it is declared safe to burn, but “some people don’t use common sense when it comes to burning their debris” Melton states.
Burning without a permit could not only result in a class B misdemeanor: if the fire becomes a wildfire, the individual who started the fire could potentially be responsible for the cost of the wildfire.
“Mistakes can be devastating,” Melton highlighted.
Closed fire season begins June 1st for the rest of the state.