Memorial Day Weekend: Gearing up for Responsible Recreation and Wildfire Prevention

Javonne Goodman
Red Cliffs with desert vegetation in the National Conservation Area.

Sometimes referred to as the unofficial start of the summer recreation season, the three-day Memorial Day weekend can be a busy time to visit public lands in Utah. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands provide excellent opportunities for visitors to enjoy America’s open spaces – and to reflect on the sacrifices made by the United States Armed Services veterans who died serving our country.

Complying with fire restrictions and following guidelines for recreating responsibly outdoors will keep everyone safe. It is up to all of us to help protect public lands from preventable wildfires this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the year. Check out these tips to recreate responsibly and use Fire Sense to help prevent human-caused wildfires.

Know Before You Go:

Know how to prevent wildfires by using outdoor equipment properly, learning campfire safety to properly extinguish campfires, and checking for fire restrictions and closures. Reservations and permits may be required.

Campfire safety steps to drown, stir and feel method to extinguish campfires.
Did you know abandoned campfires are still the leading cause of human-caused wildfires? Campfire safety is essential to preventing wildfires. Properly extinguish campfires using the “drown, stir and feel” method. If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave.

Plan and Prepare:

Check the local weather conditions before you leave home and be prepared for seasonal weather changes. Make sure you have the gear you need and a backup plan. Always let someone know your plans, including your itinerary and when you expect to return home. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and use when properly extinguishing campfires. Download the Recreation.gov mobile app for interactive maps, tours, permits, accessibility information and other helpful resources before heading out on your next adventure. 

Play it Safe:

Understand the potentially explosive nature of your toys and tools and make sure there are no restrictions on their use in the area you are visiting. Park away from and not on dry grass. Ensure tow chains are not dragging and tow straps are secured. Fireworks and exploding targets cannot be used on public lands. Enjoying time outside also includes being water-safe and knowing your own limits. 

Explore Locally:

Overcrowding and impacts from wildfire can change your travel plans. Have a backup plan that includes destinations closer to home. 

Utah public lands with sand dunes, camping, red rock landscapes and a river.
As you explore public lands, please recreate responsibly and do your part to prevent human-caused wildfires.

Leave No Trace:

Visitors should be prepared to follow Leave No Trace principles, including disposing of waste properly and respecting wildlife. It is your responsibility to pack out everything that you packed in, including any trash. Make sure your campfire is completely out and cold to the touch before going to sleep or leaving your campsite. If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.

Build an Inclusive Outdoors:

Be an active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities. Visiting public lands is an opportunity to develop meaningful connections to the natural world and a commitment to stewardship.

Bureau of Land Management Utah offices will be closed on Monday, May 30, in observance of Memorial Day, but fire personnel, law enforcement officers and recreation staff will be patrolling public lands over the long weekend.

Campfire safety is essential to preventing human-caused wildfires. For more information on preventing human-caused wildfires or the statewide Fire Sense Campaign, visit the Utah Fire Info website.