With the nation’s Independence Day and Utah’s Pioneer Day just around the corner, Salt Lake County has created an interactive map showing where fireworks are restricted.
All county-owned property, such as recreation centers and parks, have personal firework bans. Fireworks are also prohibited in unincorporated areas, including canyons, foothills and the county’s west bench. The map will be updated daily as municipalities develop new ordinances. Holladay and Millcreek, for example, adopted fireworks restrictions late last week.
“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,” Clint Mecham, the county’s emergency management director, said at a news conference in Sandy’s Dimple Dell Park. “Check that map frequently and check it often.”
And, county officials pointed out, even if residents aren’t in a restricted it area, it doesn’t mean that fireworks are a good idea this year.
“You look at this dry brush,” said Democratic county Mayor Jenny Wilson, picking up a dead branch. “That would go up rather quickly ... Disaster is the next step.”
Republican Gov. Spencer Cox said last week that, due to Utah’s intense drought, he would like to enact a statewide fireworks ban, but state law bars him from doing so. He added that “messy” state laws also made it difficult for municipalities to enact their own restrictions.
“Our current one-size-fits-all statute for fireworks is tying the hands of local communities,” said Rep. Suzanne Harrison, D-Draper. “... I call for state action to enable more local control over fireworks.”
Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton, a Republican, recalled the governor’s call for Utahns to pray for rain earlier this month.
“As I spoke with my family about this, we decided we needed to do more than just pray,” Winder Newton said, adding that her household became more mindful about indoor and outdoor water conservation. “We also made decision to have a personal ban on fireworks as a family.”
In areas without restrictions, personal legal fireworks can be lit from July 2 to 5 and from July 22 to 25.
The highly dangerous explosives, which regularly cause home fires and wildfires, can be set off only between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. That window is extended to midnight on July 4 and July 24.
“Penalties for using them outside hours and dates, or in restricted areas, can be up to $1,000,” Mecham said. “And if they cause damage or start of a fire, you can be held responsible for those costs as well.”
Salt Lake City and Sandy residents can report nonemergency fireworks issues by calling 801-799-3000. Residents in other parts of the county can call 801-840-4000.
“Be smart,” Winder Newton said. “We believe in liberty and freedom, but we also believe in personal responsibility, and it’s time for all of us to step up this year.”