Black Pine Fire in Box Elder County near the Utah-Idaho border. Photo courtesy of @UtahWildfire on Twitter.

LOGAN — New fire restrictions are being imposed for northern Utah as forecasted weather conditions and record dry vegetation continues to plague the area. The new Stage 2 Order from the State Forester goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. July 21 as the fire danger remains extreme.

Cache County Fire Chief Rod Hammer said the restrictions further prohibit the use of fires on all state lands and unincorporated private lands in Cache, Box Elder, Rich and Weber counties.

“The new restrictions limit any fires at all,” said Hammer, “so no campfires are allowed in the unincorporated county, on private or state lands. It even extends to barbecue grills that use charcoal or any flammable material other than propane devices.”

The new limitations are in addition to restrictions that were first issued in June. That order already prohibits smoking outside of vehicles or buildings. Also, no cutting, welding, or grinding in dry vegetation. And no operating of equipment like motorcycles, chain saws, ATV’s, and internal combustion engines that can throw off sparks or have heat on the manifold. They must have a working spark arrester.

Hammer said local conditions continue to be really serious. He expects the new order to remain in effect through the rest of the summer.

“We just need to keep in mind that any open flames are going to start a fire this time of year. I think the public has done an amazing job at limiting exposure, we haven’t had very many human caused fires. We have had a couple of lightning caused fires a couple weeks ago but as long as people continue to be vigilant and use their heads, then I think we are going to get through the rest of this fire season. It is only going to work if we are very careful.”

The restrictions are being enforced by state and county law enforcement. Violations can punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up $1,000.

Hammer said this has been one of the driest summers in decades. Most of the area has received little to no precipitation for the past several months.

“I don’t think there is any question, you can walk across any brown piece of grass, there all over, and know it is extremely dry. So, I think people have been very careful. We just want to encourage them to do so. Although this new restriction eliminates any fire, that doesn’t mean you can’t still go out and enjoy the outdoors but just do it safely and forego the fire at this time.”

If conditions continue to worsen the state could impose further Stage 3 restrictions.

A federal order has already been issued by the US Forest Service for national forest lands. It prohibits fires, campfires, and charcoal briquettes except in designated areas.

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