Here in Utah we are well into the hottest, driest time of the year. This also means fire season for much of the western United States. As I write this, the biggest fire in the nation is also in Utah and was started by the use of a weed burner.
Weed BurnersNow don’t get me wrong, a weed burner can be a useful tool. However, there is no good excuse for a property owner to be using one this time of year. The weeds are too dry as is much of the native vegetation. This is true of the cities as well as the areas bordering wild lands. Yes, the cities are a little safer because they are full of irrigated areas that are less likely to burn, but the density of houses is higher giving a much higher chance of a home or other structure burning.
FireworksWhile I am really annoyed at what has proved to be the very dangerous use of a weed burner, I am very aware that there are other fire causes that are more common and just as dangerous. Fireworks during the summer months tops the list of fire hazards for me. I remember one of my schoolmates talking about the time he tied a sparkler to an arrow and missed the water he was trying to hit. Instead, he hit a dry clump of grass and started a small wildfire. I guess he must have gotten it out quickly because I never heard about it on the evening news. That was a long time ago, but one recent fire in Utah was caused by a couple of kids playing with fireworks and started a dry meadow on fire. An abandoned campfire caused another around the same time. The kids with the fireworks got cited and fined, but I don’t think they have found the folks that abandoned the campfire yet.
The Unpredictability of WildfiresI think you are getting the picture. As I have been writing this I was very aware that my focus is moving back and forth, and I don’t feel that is a bad thing since that is how fires and fire season is here in the West. Winds blow one direction one day and the other direction the next. A fire can be the biggest hot spot one day only to be replaced one day later and then be the hottest one two days after that. Fire is just unpredictable this time of year with these conditions.
Use Common Sense & Set Up Safety MeasuresNow, sit back and rethink that weed control gadget or the backyard fireworks display. How important is it to you? Are you willing and prepared to set up safety measures? Do you have a second person there to help you find hot spots or escaped sparks? Do you have a hose pressurized with a good directable nozzle and or a good fire extinguisher that is rated for the job and the proper training to use it effectively? If not you should rethink your plans and work for a safer option. Death or property destruction is just not worth a night full of noise and sparkly lights or a weed free property.