VIDEO: Wildfire season remains weeks away, but Utah's wildland firefighters are already prepping for what they expect to be another busy year.
"We had a decent year in regards to precipitation, but we haven't overcome the drought that we've been in for a long-term period. I think that could come into play, and it definitely worries us, as well, as firefighters," said Matthew McFarland, Unified Fire Authority spokesman.
Capt. Jon Slatore, Unified fire management officer, noted that last year the state saw a high-than-average number of fires, though most weren't considered large in acreage.
The state experienced 1,547 wildfire reports in 2020, according to statistics provided by the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, and the total cost to suppress those fires reached $60 million.
"A lot of that was, I think people were home and they were just staying local. This year, we're looking at a lot of the same. I believe they're calling for a larger-scale drought for Utah, which sounds bad initially.