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Destruction from Utah fires up significantly in 2017

Destruction from Utah fires up significantly in 2017 (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) This year's fire season in Utah is turning out be to be much more destructive than last year. According to the latest figures for the 2017 fire season, there has been a huge increase in the number of urban fires, acres burned and homes destroyed across the state -- but that's not because of a big jump in the number of fires.

"Overall we had a fairly average fire season, said Jason Curry, a state wildfire spokesman. But the destruction those fires caused that's when you see the numbers increase.

In 2016 there were 1,080 fires in Utah that burned 102,280 acres. At the time of this article, this year there have been 1,114 fires that burned 239,283 acres -- more than double the acres.

Curry said this year 19 homes were destroyed compared to three homes in the 2016 fire season. And he said the number of fires in urban areas that forced evacuations or burned homes jumped to more than 100 this year compared to just over 50 last year.

"It's a big concern when we see a number like that jump to represent a two-fold increase of wild and urban interface fires. That's the area where we focus most of our efforts in terms of prevention and educating so when we see that big of a number we know we have a lot of work to do," Curry said.

"Huge increase --I think the thing that we learn is it can happen really quickly that's probably the biggest lesson to take away. You should be prepared."

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