The coming fires
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utahns value planning for the future. For example, the Utah Legislature puts money into a "rainy day fund" as a hedge against future downturns in tax revenue.

Our elected officials will get a chance to reflect our values in this coming legislative session by passing a bill that hedges against the costs of increased wildfires due to climate change. In 2012, there were 1,453 wildfires in Utah. The cost of suppressing these fires was $50 million, with Utah paying $16 million.

With the latest study showing that worldwide carbon dioxide levels are 54 percent higher than in 1990, some leaders in the Utah Legislature are acknowledging the science that demonstrates that fossil fuels contribute to warming global temperatures, which in turn create financial costs for Utahns.

I commend those legislators for dealing with the threat of widespread climate change-induced wildfires. Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, has taken a bold step in the right direction. He plans to sponsor a bill that would provide funds to plan for wildfire mitigation and adaptation.

In the spirit of Utah values, I urge my fellow citizens to support this bill.

Cathleen Zick

Salt Lake City