Although no crews from Utah were involved with the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona that killed 19 firefighters Sunday, they are battling plenty of other blazes throughout the West.
Firefighters from the area are involved with wildfires in eight states, said Gina Dingman, assistant center manager with the Eastern Great Basin Coordination Center in Salt Lake City. The center's geographic area covers Utah, Idaho south of the Salmon River, the western Wyoming mountains and the Arizona Strip.
Exact numbers are difficult to come by, but figures provided by Dingman suggest that as many as 2,000 firefighters from the Eastern Great Basin are currently deployed on wildfires throughout the West -- including blazes in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, California and Alaska.
In addition, 63 aircraft and 158 pieces of large equipment -- engines, bulldozers and other items they refer to as "rolling stock" -- from the area are involved. Within the state, as of Monday evening, five larger wildfires were burning in central Utah.
This year's wildfire numbers are telling, Dingman said. In an average year in the Eastern Great Basin, the area has seen 249 fires by June 30. This year, there have been 457. However, in a typical year, that would have involved 55,376 acres burned -- and so far this year, those 457 fires have burned just 18,677 acres.
"We're definitely below average for acres burned," Dingman said.
And 2012, around here, was way above average.
"Last year, by the end of June, we'd had 323,852 acres burned in 317 fires," she said. "This year, we've had just 18,677 acres burned."
Dingman believes last month's high temperatures may have actually kept fires down so far.
"It is ready (to burn), but the trends are that, when it's 100 degrees, nobody wants to be outside," Dingman said. "It cuts down on what I call stupid human tricks."
Typically, she said, it's about a one-to-one ratio between lightning-caused and human-caused wildfires.
Kathy Jo Pollock, public affairs specialist with the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, said the 2013 fire season is "about normal" right now, but that could change in an instant. With the recent high temperatures and winds, it's rapidly drying out the trees, brush and other fuels.
"We're just starting the fire season," Pollock said. "We're not through our season yet. If we stay with these high temperatures, and get some winds and lightning, things could change in a hurry."
Dingman says last year was a bad one for wildfires in Utah, but it's rare that a state has two bad fire years in a row.
Of course, she cautions, "Colorado was big (with fires) last year, and it's even bigger this year -- but that's not normal, that's very unusual."
Still, only time will tell.
"Really," Dingman said, "our fire season doesn't even start rocking until the second weekend in July."