With the Fourth of July holiday accompanied by drought this year, area fire officials want residents to help ensure Summit County isn't the starting location of the season's big wildfire.
Summit County Fire Warden Bryce Boyer restated that private fireworks other than sparklers and snakes are banned in all unincorporated parts of the county, as per the order of Utah State Forester Dick Buehler.
This ban does not apply to incorporated towns in Summit County, although Coalville and Park City have instituted ordinances banning the private use of fireworks. Boyer says Henefer has not passed an ordinance, but urges those all across the county to practice safe habits this summer.
"Just be very careful, things are very dry," Boyer said. "Particularly use extreme caution if there is wind."
Boyer also said that the county is in a closed fire season right now, meaning that a burn permit is required for anything except a cooking fire in an improved campfire receptacle. As far as firearms are considered, tracer rounds, steel jackets and exploding targets are all banned.
Park City Fire Chief Paul Hewitt said his district's staff will be beefed up for the public firework displays this week. Hewitt said they will be wetting down a bigger radius zone around the public display launching area this year. He encourages all residents to check out the district's website, www.pcfd.org , to get the full restrictions on open burning and fireworks. Hewitt even suggests people go beyond the restrictions.
"The danger is listed as high right now. If we go a few more days without precipitation we will remain extreme," Hewitt said. "We caution all citizens to not use any source of ignition, and to call early if they see smoke."
Any Summit County residents in unincorporated towns who break the county's fireworks ban will face a Class B misdemeanor as per a statute passed by the County Council on June 27, according to Summit County Detective Sergeant Ron Bridge.
Hewitt notes that this fire season has already seen fewer fires than at this point last year, but doesn't want to let up on the use of caution. He says the cooler temperatures and lower dew points earlier in the season helped, but warns that vegetation is "drying out really fast." Hewitt wants to use citizens as a "watch source" for fire risk but also encourages them to enjoy the holiday week.
"Enjoy the public displays," Hewitt said. "Use that as an outlet to celebrate."
Hewitt added that the Park City Fire District has included a link to its site at pcfd.org for those who wish to contribute to the fund for the 19 firefighters killed in the Yarnell Wildfire in Arizona on Sunday.