A hellish forecast? Heat, drought and winds for Utah
Fire restrictions • Ban on open fires, fireworks on public lands.
Published: June 30, 2012 01:34PM
Updated: June 29, 2012 08:22AM

If Dante Alighieri were alive today, this weekend’s Utah weather might provide fresh vision for a re-imagined Inferno.

The Beehive State’s tortured, sweating souls will once again endure a forecast punctuated by heat, parched terrain and the potential for fire-driving winds. Northern Utah’s Wasatch Front expected high temperatures in the upper-90s on Saturday with south winds of 10-20 mph. Southern Utahns might be excused an occasional wailing lament as the mercury thrusts well into the triple digits with winds of 15-25 mph.

Near the state’s half-dozen major wildfires air quality will suffer from smoke, but generally — with the exception of Utah County, which had a “Yellow” or compromised breathability grade — a “Green” or satisfactory air quality rating was in effect going into this weekend.

A “Red Flag” wildfire danger warning was in effect for the southwest quarter of the state, stretching from Nephi and Manti south to St. George. Open fires and fireworks were banned on all public lands in the state, and an increasing number of cities were imposing fireworks restrictions as well ahead of Independence Day.

Indeed, if you set off illegal fireworks that spark a fire, you might as well abandon all hope of avoiding firefighting cost penalties and possibly criminal charges, state officials have warned.

Salt Lake City’s high temperature Saturday was pegged at 98, just two degrees lower that Friday’s forecast for triple digits; Ogden looked for 94 and 95 degree readings, respectively; Provo 97 and 98; Logan 93s; Wendover 96 and 97; Cedar City 93s; St. George 104s; and Moab 102 and 101 degrees.

remims@sltrib.com