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‘It’s Worse Than You Think’ — Gov. Cox Urges Utahns To Hold Off On Fireworks This Year Because Of Drought

A photo of Spencer Cox at a press conference podium speaking.
Laura Seitz
Deseret News
Gov. Spencer Cox talked about how dire the statewide drought is Thursday. “Everything is so dry,” he said. “It’s drier than you think.”

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox wants Utahns to know the historic drought the state is in is “worse than you think.”

But if residents were waiting for him to ban fireworks statewide during the hot, dry conditions, legally — he can’t.

“I do not have the authority to implement a statewide ban,” Cox said during his monthly news conference. “If it were up to me, a really easy fix would just say that any areas that are in exceptional drought shouldn't have fireworks.”

He said state statute also limits the kinds of policies cities can implement, though some have put restrictions in place.

For that to change, legislators would need to amend the law, which Cox said he would like them to do.

“I’ve told the Legislature I think it's a terrible idea not to have additional restrictions this year,” he said. “They haven't shown any interest in doing anything more around that.”

Earlier in June, Cox issued a fireworks prohibition on state-owned and unincorporated private lands.

Now, he’s urging Utahns to take some personal responsibility.

“Please, this is not the year,” he said. “Even if you think you're being extremely safe, one spark and it just runs.”

Cox reminded people if they start a fire, they will be held liable for the damages.

It’s illegal to use fireworks anywhere in Utah until July 2.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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