Warm Weather Kicks Off Wildifre Season
May. 1, 2004

Video News of story:

http://tv.ksl.com/index.php?sid=91261&nid=8

The warmer weather is here... and while we may be enjoying the heat, its drying effect could mean big trouble this summer.

That's right... the wildfire season is upon us.

Last year was bad and this year could be just as bad, if not worse.

The National Interagency Fire Center has already named southern Utah as one of three western areas with the greatest risk of fire this season.

That's because the early snow melt and lingering drought have left plenty of fuel.

And with many Utah homes creeping closer to the top of mountains, it puts them right in the fire's path.

So today some wildland firefighters took time to try to educate Utahns on how to protect themselves and their homes.

Darrel Woolley Homeowner: "WE DON'T ALLOW ANY OUTSIDE BURNING AT ALL UP HERE. WE DON'T EVEN WANT TO TAKE A CHANCE."

Oak and Cedar trees surround Darrel Woolley's home, in the High Country Estates in Herriman.

The landscape is plenty of fuel, for a wildfire. Woolley knows the risk.

He keeps it in the back of his mind.

Darrel Woolley: "ESPECIALLY WITH THE CALIFORNIA DEAL LAST YEAR, IT REALLY BRINGS IT ALL HOME, JUST HOW REAL IT IS."

In fact, Woolley has done some work to protect his home.

Darrel Woolley: "THIS HAS BEEN TRIMMED QUITE A BIT, THESE OAKS."

But Woolley found out, it may not be enough. Today, firefighters from the Lone Peak hot shot crew, participated in a training exercise that prepares them to fight a wildfire in an urban interface. This community sits among drought stricken trees, sagebrush and grass.

Scott Bovey: "FUEL HASN'T GONE AWAY. IT'S STILL THERE."

Sandra Yi: "CREWS TAGGED WOOLLEY'S MAILBOX WITH A RED RIBBON. THAT MEANS, IF THERE WERE A FIRE NOW, HIS HOME COULD NOT BE SAVED."

But crews determined his neighbor's home could survive a fire.

They practiced setting up a defensive hose layer around the property, as they would if a fire were approaching. But yellow ribbons, like the one on this shed, marks what could be potential hazards.

Scott Bovey Superintendent, Lone Peak Hot Shots: "FIREFIGHTERS TRAIN ON WORSE CASE SCENARIO. THAT WAY, WE'RE PREAPRED FOR ANYTHING LESS THAN THAT."

Woolley hopes to get some advice, to spare his home from fires.

He plans to replace his wood shingles. But he wonders about his deck.

Darrel Woolley: "IT'S AN ALL WOOD DECK AND I'M A LITTLE BIT CONCERNED ABOUT EMBERS OR SOMETHING. IF IT GOT INTO THAT DECK, IT WOULD PROBABLY JUST FLASH ONTO THE DECK AND BE ON THE HOUSE PRETTY FAST."

Firefighters say all homeowners need fire and evacuation plans.

They also need to think about the worse case scenario, identify the fuels around their homes and treat them