Salt Lake County Lawmakers Urge Residents to Hold Off On Fireworks
As fireworks sales in Utah begin on Thursday, elected officials are asking residents to refrain from setting them off this year. The plea comes as Utah faces its worst drought in decades.
Gov. Spencer Cox urged residents last week to not to partake in those activities as it’s too big of a risk. Cities like Holladay, Millcreek and Eagle Mountain have already enacted restrictions.
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson followed suit and also asked residents not to buy fireworks this year. She said it comes amid record setting heatwaves and wildfire season.
“We have an exceptional risk this year,” Wilson said. ”Drought plus heat equals extreme fire danger.”
She said she’s asking Utahns to take personal responsibility and instead attend city firework shows.
“I've got kids, and especially when they were younger, they loved [having their own fireworks],” she said. “But let's plan ahead and find a place to view our great firework shows throughout the valley as opposed to what we sometimes do — our own special fireworks local shows.”
Clint Mecham, Salt Lake County emergency manager, said they’ve created an interactive map where residents can check to see where restrictions are located. He said it’s important to keep up to date because it’s constantly changing
“Just because you checked today and see that you're in an unrestricted area, doesn't mean that maybe tomorrow you will be in an unrestricted area,” Mecham said.
There are places where fireworks are outright banned such as the foothills and canyons — fires can start and spread more easily in those locations.
Rep. Suzanne Harrison, D-Draper, said she was planning on introducing a bill in the upcoming General Session that would give local elected officials more control over restrictions.
“We know we're getting hotter, and we know our wildfire seasons are getting longer,” Harrison said. “I think we need additional statutes that unshackle our local communities to be able to address the risks in their communities.”
Violating firework prohibitions can cost up to $1,000.