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Keep up with the latest news about wildfires in Utah. If you have tips or questions, contact Lexi Peery at lpeery@kuer.org.

Fireworks Are Banned Until July, But State And Local Leaders Are Already Thinking About Restrictions

Bright white fireworks lights in the dark sky.
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Municipalities decide where people can light off fireworks, which are only allowed a few days out of the year in Utah.

Fireworks are banned in Utah until July 2, but state and local leaders are already making plans for the summer holidays.

Exceptional and extreme drought conditions in Utah have fire officials concerned about what will happen this summer, and Gov. Spencer Cox issued a state of emergency earlier this year because of the state’s situation.

At a recent press conference Cox delivered a “dire” warning about the state’s situation, and was also asked about fireworks restrictions.

“We'll look at those as they get closer. We would work closely with the legislature before we implement any of those,” he said. “But again, it really depends on what the rain situation looks like leading up to fireworks season.”

Around 77% of wildfires last year were started by people, including one started by fireworks that burned almost 12,000 acres of Mojave Desert tortoise habitat north of St. George. It was sparked on federal land, where fireworks are never allowed.

This year will mark the first time people can light the explosives at city parks in St. George. The city council approved a map last week of where they’re allowed.

St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said some cities ban them everywhere except for public spaces to have a more controlled area. He said St. George opted for a hybrid style — they’re still allowed in some residential areas.

Stoker said he hopes opening parks to fireworks will cut down on the number of people doing them illegally.

“We may have some issues [at parks],” he said, “but we're hoping that with the wide open spaces in those parks that it'll be a lot safer and people won't won't be doing them in the restricted areas as much as they have been in the past.”

Stoker said if you’re lighting off fireworks for the holidays, make sure to soak them in water before disposal to avoid trash can fires. They are only allowed over the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day holidays, on New Years Eve and Chinese New Year.

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