The Trump administration is expanding the use of the federal emergency declaration to allow the state of Utah to request a wildfire declaration to fight a wildfire season.
A draft order issued by the Department of Interior on Friday afternoon states that states that the emergency declaration “may be used by any person, including tribal governments and municipalities, in connection with a natural disaster, to declare a fire emergency.”
The proclamation allows Utah to issue the declaration for a wildfire “that poses an imminent threat to life or property” or “a wildfire that threatens or threatens a public health, safety, welfare, or general welfare.”
The order also expands the use to include “wildland fires that have occurred, or are likely to occur, within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, or other public facility.”
The Utah Wilderness Act allows for a disaster declaration for wildfires that are threatening “a public health or safety” or that are “presenting an imminent hazard to life and property.”
The draft order did not provide a timeline for issuing the declaration.
Gary Herbert issued a statement Friday afternoon in which he called on the federal government to “review the use and implications of this new rule” to protect Utahns.
“The wildfire season is a time of heightened threat, and we must do everything in our power to protect our communities, communities, and lands,” Herbert said.
“Utah has already been working to strengthen the wildfire response in the face of climate change, and it is important that our state remain at the forefront of protecting Utah’s wildlands and forests.
The Utah Wilderness and Parks Act is a vital piece of this effort.”
The state is already facing a wildfire crisis, with more than 80 wildfires burning across the state in the past week.
On Tuesday, the Utah National Guard reported a massive fire in northern Utah, killing three people.