Cost for fighting wildfires in Utah drops, but ‘we’re not done yet’

June 2021 file photo of wildfire smoke rising from the foothills north of the town of Enterprise, Utah, June 18, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Jared Holt, St. George News / Cedar City News

SALT LAKE CITY — If it seems like Utah’s wildfire season has been a bit mild, you’re right. And that means less strain on Utah’s state budget.

This August 2021 file photo shows smoke from an active wildfire atop Pine Valley Mountain that was visible from the Oak Grove Campground, Pine Valley, Utah, Aug. 29, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Doris McNally, St. George News

The number of human-caused wildfires dropped by two-thirds in July and August, which also means the cost for fighting those fires also dropped significantly.

Unlike most other parts of the state budget, the state does not use a set amount of money to pay for the cost of fighting wildfires. Instead, most of that money is allocated after the fact since it’s impossible to project the cost ahead of time. This year, lawmakers allocated $54.2 million to cover the cost of the previous year.

Turns out that was far too much. The actual costs for fire expenses and rehabilitation was just over $30.4 million, leaving $28.5 million lawmakers can carry over to cover this year’s costs.

Read the full story here: SLTrib.com.

Written by BRYAN SCHOTT, The Salt Lake Tribune.

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aims to inform readers across the state.

Copyright 2021 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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