The Salt Lake County Council approved fireworks restrictions Tuesday in the unincorporated-area townships.
What makes that noteworthy is that it was the first time the council has had the authority to do so.
Until the Legislature changed state law this past session, the state Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands established fire restrictions in the unincorporated area. The county couldn’t. Only cities could restrict fires, smoking and fireworks within their boundaries.
That edict never caused any problems.
"The state forester has been great to work with," noted Council Chairman Michael Jensen, who doubles as the Unified Fire Authority chief and lobbied with county Mayor Ben McAdams for the legislation, "but it took a few weeks."
Added McAdams: "The revised law allows for swifter preventive action during the dangerous fire seasons."
Unified Fire Assistant Chiefs Stephen Higgs and Bradley Larsen showed council members an interactive map on their department’s website — www.unifiedfire.org — in which residents can move the cursor to see what conditions exist in their neighborhoods and if restrictions are expanding or contracting.
Larsen said this year’s fire and fireworks restrictions are similar to those the state forester enacted last summer, particularly in the wildland-suburban interface on both sides of the Salt Lake Valley.
But there is a bit more latitude this year, Larsen said, with restrictions lifted so far in some Magna and White City neighborhoods, where bans were in effect a year ago.
"The fire marshals who served as firefighters in their areas know where the problems are," he added, "and we followed their recommendations."
Violating restrictions is a class B misdemeanor.
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