So far this year Utah has seen 397 human-caused fired, something the state forester, Brian Cottam, has called "abysmally high" and attributes to "stupid human tricks" being responsible. Cottam listed many reasons for the spike in fire this year, claiming they were due to fireworks, target shooting in restricted areas, exploding targets, and ditch burning on farms in the early spring. He went on to say that No. 1 cause was vehicles sparking fires along the roadway, often by dragging chains on trailers.
The price tag for suppression costs so far this year has reached an astounding $18 million. More than half of that cost, $10 million, went to fight the Brian Head Fire that burned nearly 72,000 acres, claimed 13 homes, and forced an evacuation of roughly 1,500. Cottam said that were it not for the Brian Head Fire the state's fire suppression costs would be about average, and that it may take years to receive money from the federal government to even partially reimburse the state for covering the expense.