The Senate Site SB 120 Is Common Sense Fire Prevention

SB 120 Is Common Sense Fire Prevention

Posted in 2012, Featured on Thursday, February 14th, 2013 at 9:05 AM 2 Comments

By Senator Margaret Dayton
Utah State Senate District 15

SB 120 Is Common Sense Fire Prevention

It has been my tradition to be a staunch defender of the Constitution and its protection of individual and states rights against federal overreach. Because of my record, some have questioned my sponsorship of SB 120.


It is easy to assume, that had this bill been run a year ago, it would have been received as the common sense bill that it really is.  However, in view of the alarming proposals that are coming from Washington, people are justifiably wary of any limitation of their 2nd Amendment rights.


Guns and water access are always sensitive issues in our state. While SB 62 and SB 120 concern both those issues, in reality they deal with state fire management and federal mismanagement of lands in our state. (SB 62 gives the Governor access to otherwise legally inaccessible water in the event of a fire emergency.)


Here is a video of the press conference where I addressed these bills.

In the video, we discuss some of the difference between what a fire does on land that has been properly managed and land that has not. One example of how federal mismanagement causes fire problems is the grazing restrictions placed on the federal lands within our state boundaries. One picture we talk about is particularly shocking. It looks as though a barbed wire fence stopped the fire, but what really happened was that the fire swept through the land that had not been grazed and when it reached the boarder of the land that was properly managed and being used, there was new growth and no tinder to burn and so the fire simply stopped.


Not all fires start on federal lands, but failed federal policies of land management have created conditions that stimulate hotter and larger fires. If you watch the video, Dick Buehler, Director of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, explains this problem well.


Last year, in Utah there were 1528 wild fires. The cost to suppress those fires was just over $50 million. The two bills I am running give Utah some necessary preemptive tools to combat the fires that spread from lands over which the state has no management control.


To help citizens help the prevention efforts, the state forester will regularly update the website that provides interactive information with maps and links indicating where it is safe to shoot. This information will be updated at least every two weeks, to eliminate any unnecessary closures and confusion of closure locations.


Target shooting is not a Constitutional right, but bearing arms is. SB 120 does not interfere with concealed carry permits or hunting. It only allows for a temporary limitation of shooting in small areas that have an historic precedence for fires started by target shooting. If they fully recognized the dangerous and expensive results, most responsible citizens would probably applaud these common sense measures.


It is my hope that the legislature and the citizenry can be supportive of these proposals dealing with fire prevention and control.


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2 Comments to “SB 120 Is Common Sense Fire Prevention”

  1. John Murphy says:

    I fully support restrictions on target shooting. There should also be restrictions on fireworks. The anti-federalism is sickening, however.

    • Rhonda says:

      The United States Constitution grants no authority of land management within a state to the federal government. They are out of line. They’re not even close to the line.

      That said, this article was not anti-federal, it merely stated the indisputable fact that “failed federal policies of land management have created conditions that stimulate hotter and larger fires”. There’s a difference between insulting, and stating facts to try to solve problems. This bill discusses the latter.

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