OGDEN — Warm, windy weather has dried greenery and increased the fire threat in northeastern Utah.
But outside of ditch bank and agricultural burns getting away from people, the Weber-Davis area is under no high fire threat, a state fire official says.
Red flag warnings were in effect Thursday for much of western Colorado and the San Luis Valley, as well as parts of Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
However, most of the high fire danger is in northeastern Utah, near Vernal and Duchesne, said Jason Curry, spokesman for the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
“It is always a concern when we see a red flag warning,” he said.
The state is currently in that period of time during each year when new spring greenery has yet to fully bloom and long, dry winter grasses crowd ditch banks and other property, Curry said.
“While things are still moist in the hills, the lowlands are where there is a fire danger concern.”
Curry reminds people to watch the weather to avoid agricultural burns on windy days.
“Use common sense,” he said.
The winds in the mountainous states of the West are forecast to subside today.
The warm, windy weather is the result of southwesterly winds ahead of an approaching Pacific cold front that’s not expected to bring much moisture, said Joe Ramey, a National Weather Service meteorologist.
But any moisture for the Weber and Ogden river drainages would be welcome.
“We are very dry,” said Tage Flint, manager of the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District.
Currently, the district is at 48 percent of normal snow level, he said, adding that those percentages are similar elsewhere.
The district’s drainage area also has low soil moisture content, Flint said.
Last year at this time, the soil moisture content was at near saturation, while this year’s reading is 65 percent.
That raises the question: When what little snow there is in the mountains melts, Flint said, how much is going to be absorbed into the ground before reaching rivers and streams?
However, he said, because of the holdover from last year’s heavy snowpack, reservoir levels are high.
Flint said there just won’t be a lot of runoff.