The summer fire season in Utah has gone from deadly to deadlier as the risk for human caused wildfire starts are happening earlier and longer than any previous years. This is the story of how we
leveraged public officials and public relations to garner support and reach across Utah during a critical time of intense drought and increased fire danger on behalf of the Department of Land Management and Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands.
Boncom's work on the Utah Fire Sense campaign included creating new research-based marketing materials for TV, outdoor, radio, digital media, and media relations. We created enduring partnerships with different community organizations and opinion leaders—such as Governor Spencer Cox and Associated Food—to create long-lasting impressions and the adoption of life and land saving behaviors by Utah residents. Utah Fire Sense public relations and partnership performance garnered over 1 million total local viewership, receiving PR Campaign of the Year from PRSA. These partnerships boosted reach and long-lasting impressions with an additional $411,996.55 of bonus and donated media dollars that backed the campaign.
Utah Fire Sense and Boncom partnered with public officials and donated media to show individuals across the state common sense behaviors in the name of fire safety. Focusing on the top 5 human-caused fire behaviors, Utah Fires Sense created content targeting firework, campfire, vehicle start, debris burning, and firearm safety. While there were 1,176 human-caused wildfires accounting for 79% of Utah total wildfires in 2020, human-caused wildfires decreased to 570 human caused wildfires in 2021 and 466 human-caused wildfires in 2022 in the two years since the introduction of Fire Sense.