Forestry, Fire and State Lands Presentation Given to Carbon Commissioners


The Carbon County Commissioners were visited by Duncan Fuchise and Jeremy Jorgensen of Forestry, Fire and State Lands during their May 15 meeting for a presentation.

Jorgensen spoke first and stated that he wanted to give a quick summary of the fire weather forecast going into fire season. A good grass crop in the area is expected due to the last two years and, as a good crop is expected, fire season is going to be around normal or above normal.

More fires are anticipated in the lower levels, as the higher levels have too much snow and are still too wet to have a blaze really take off. With this in mind, officials will be looking for a lot more fires in the valleys.

The state has two larger helicopters on contract and another for fire suppression. Jorgensen said that the nice thing about the contract is that it makes the copters exclusive for use in the state of Utah. From there, he explained that a spring fire management meeting had been hosted in Price and about 100 people came to Carbon County for two days for the meeting.

USU Eastern’s campus was used for the meeting. In regard to fire suppression resources, Jorgensen said his engine will be back and they have two more fully staffed from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service.

Currently, residents must get a burn permit to burn yard debris. Jorgensen said that they are going to test an online permit application in both Carbon and Emery counties to make it a more streamlined process getting those permits to residents.

For fires in the area this year, there have been four or five already in Carbon County in the last month. A couple of them have been lightning strike fires and this is earlier in the year for those types of fires than in the past. The biggest of the fires so far was in Wellington, when a debris pile got out of control and burnt a bit over an acre.

Before turning the time over to Fuchise, Jorgensen concluded his presentation by stating that there are 42 firefighters in Carbon County that are red-carded.

Fuchise explained that he covers Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties. He presented the commissioners with some maps as visual aids, though he acknowledged that they were likely familiar with the areas. He wished to cover the projects that are going on in the next two or three years.

These projects are all grant funded, such as Lower Fish Creek on the south side, Ford Ridge and 38 acres along the roads from East Carbon to Columbia. The Grassy Trail is going to be a big project for the next few years, focusing on the watershed above the reservoir. Eventually, they may look toward a prescribed fire there, though if that is going to occur, it will be three to five years down the road.

Fuchise also stated that the annual Scofield Mountain Homes chipper day is upcoming and they have had a proposal for more Russian Olive removal in the Price City limits. The removal was not funded this year, but Fuchise assured they will continue to search for funding.

He concluded by saying that they are an available resource to the community. Commissioner Casey Hopes said it is important that these projects are done and every dollar spent is $7 saved in the cost of fighting a fire. The commissioners thanked Jorgensen and Fuchise for their work.

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