Dozens of Utah cities restrict fireworks, while a few ban them
Holladay is banning all aerial fireworks within city limits. Ogden won't allow them in any open field or vacant lot, or in adjacent foothills. And Alpine is outlawing them completely.
As wildfires streak across a parched and scorched Utah, cities and counties are restricting the use of private fireworks. A few towns have banned them altogether, and their use is now prohibited on all public lands outside of incorporated areas.
Dozens of cities have heeded Gov. Gary Herbert's request last week to take appropriate action to "regulate use of fireworks and firearms." Most are banning their use in specific areas within their boundaries. Along the Wasatch Front, many of those areas are in the dry, brushy foothills to the east, abutting city borders.
At a press conference Thursday, Herbert emphasized that fireworks users are responsible for knowing the rules. Joined by State Fire Marshal Brent Halladay and a number of city mayors at the state Capitol, he reminded Utahns of the statewide ban for public lands, which was effective June 23.
Herbert said he trusts local officials to make the best decisions for their own jurisdictions and called upon all Utahns to exercise caution and use common sense with fireworks.
Asked why there is no statewide ban, which some say would avoid any confusion on where fireworks are allowed, Herbert said it's a matter for cities.
"The 243 cities ought to have their own ordinances based on â¦ their own unique circumstances," he said.
Herbert said "the state has done everything it can do to ban fireworks" under the Utah Fireworks Act, which says cities can't enact ordinances that prohibit people from discharging legal fireworks from July 1-7 and July 21-27. State law, however, does grant authority to cities to restrict use of fireworks to certain areas.
Provo, for example, has banned fireworks on its east side, but will allow them in six parks to accommodate revelers.
On Thursday, Holladay moved to ban fireworks east of Wasatch Boulevard and will prohibit all aerial fireworks. But some towns have banned all private use of fireworks Cedar Fort, Duchesne, Morgan, Garden City and Ephraim by drafting ordinances that give authority to the local fire chief. However, such bans can be applied only to areas that meet the definition of mountainous or brush-covered.
Alpine banned fireworks because of the city's unique geography and layout, according to city administrator Rich Nelson.
"There are only three ways into Alpine," he said, because the city lies in a box canyon, and dealing with evacuations and emergency services during a fire would be difficult. Another reason for the ban is that Alpine's plentiful natural space, while beloved by the community, is loaded with fire fuel.
"Because of those things, we had to take different precautions" from other Utah County cities that haven't initiated a ban, he said.
Some Utahns would like to see their own cities ban fireworks, too. Draper resident Mary Purser said she would like the no-fireworks zone to be citywide, if that were legally possible. Draper is restricting their use only in certain areas, including Mehraban Wetlands Park.
"I would be happy if [the City Council] would extend it everywhere â¦ or do as much as they can," she said.
Learn if your community is restricting the use of private fireworks at http://1.usa.gov/LzdK0G.