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Backyard Fireworks Banned For Much Of Utah

Concern about the potential for wildfire has prompted officials throughout Utah to prohibit the use of fireworks in many places in Utah.

Fireworks and the Fourth of July holiday might seem synonymous. But this Independence Day, Utahns will be hard-pressed to find places where backyard fireworks are allowed.

Hot, dry conditions throughout Utah mean fireworks are prohibited on public lands and in many communities.

“We have restrictions, and they're pretty, pretty sweeping,” says Audra Sorenson, a spokesperson for the Salt Lake City Fire Department. “We have to do that because there is such a danger -- a small sparkler or just the empties from a firecracker can spark a terrible, terrible fire.”

Sorensen says many people see it as a right to celebrate the holidays with fireworks. But there are alternatives -- like hanging out at the pool or enjoying community fireworks displays.

There's great displays at Sugarhouse park at other municipalities have beautiful professional displays and they have their fire departments and crews on hand to be able to handle that situation make sure that they're both beautiful and safe,” she says.

There’s a web page for checking local fireworks and campfire restrictions. It’s

Sorenson says firefighters are on high alert, and the Salt Lake City Fire Department recently added two new ladder trucks to its fleet.

“If you see something happening,” she adds, “quickly, quickly call 9-1-1, because the sooner we can get on site to where a spark is, the sooner we can contain that potential fire.”

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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