In July and August, Utah Governor Gary Herbert issued Executive Orders declaring a State of Emergency for wild land fires due to drought, hot temperatures and fires already burning.
Utah has already experienced more than 800 wildfires this summer, most of them caused by human activity. Smoke from wildfires rendered summer air along the Wasatch Front nearly unbreathable (45 red air days and counting in Salt Lake County).
Unfortunately, Utah’s catastrophic wildfires have become yet another excuse for a Republican agenda of environmental deregulation. During an interview with FOX 13 news, Herbert repeated talking points taken straight from right-wing media, blaming the severity of fires on federal environmental policies. In fact, healthy forests are more resilient to wildfires, and conditions caused by climate change are making the fire season longer.