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Utah's wildfire season is just heating up

"We'd rather prepare for the event than have to go take care of the event," explained Rich Woodruff, an American Red Cross volunteer.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Wildfire season is about to peak, and experts are urging Utahns to prepare themselves.

Today is the first day of summer, but wildfire season began weeks ago. 

"This is from the American Red Cross,” said one volunteer, as he handed out an informational door-hanger.  “It's about fire safety," he said.  

Volunteers are spreading awareness in some of the most high-risk areas of Utah.

"We'd rather prepare for the event than have to go take care of the event," explained Rich Woodruff, an American Red Cross volunteer.

Neighborhoods in the Salt Lake valley may look green, but experts say even a tiny spark in a dry patch of grass can cause huge problems.  Experts say with temperatures warming up, everyone should be ready for a blaze to start at any time.

"You have a communication plan and an evacuation plan.  You want to know how you're going to meet up afterwards, so everybody's not all over the place,” explained Woodruff.  

Some families living in Draper have already learned that lesson the hard way during a recent brush fire.

"Some of our neighbors saw in the Orson Smith trailhead, somebody with a little fire, they were trying to stamp it out, and I guess it got away and they ran away," said Ron Witzel, who evacuated his home last week.

Now, Witzel and his neighbors are taking extra precautions.

"…[like trimming] back some of the trees from the house.  I've done that in the back a little bit, but they grow so fast, you just have to keep doing that," added Witzel.  

Another good idea is keeping a 72-hour grab bag.  It should include all the essentials for you, your family, and your pets.

The American Red Cross responds to an average of 2.5 calls every week.  Last week, they responded to five calls.  As temperatures continue to go up, so will those numbers.

Volunteers can spread awareness, but ultimately, staying safe remains a state-wide effort. 

"Control the idiots who are starting the fires!" said Witzel.

For more information on how to keep your home safe from wildfires, click the following link: 

http://www.utahfireinfo.gov/prevention/protect_your_home.html

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