VIDEO: Utah taxpayers paid at least $34 million to fight a record number wildfires in 2020. The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands said the people who started some of those fires will have to pay part of that tab. “If you do start a fire in Utah, you will be pursued for the costs — and wildfires are expensive,” said division spokesman Jason Curry.
In 2020, 1,143 of Utah’s 1,482 wildfires were human-caused and preventable. Utah had one fire every day between March and September.
Curry said efforts are underway right now to recover about $5.8 million in firefighting costs from 2020. While wildfires cost the state, they also cost the federal government, which often sends out resources to assist states in wildfire suppression.
Curry said the state has an obligation to hold the fire-starters responsible for the cost. The impact of wildfires goes past the firefighting effort.