A firecracker-less Fourth is wanted in Park City
June 30, 2015
Park City leaders want people to celebrate the 4th of July with a fireworks display.
But not a do-it-yourself one.
The Park City Council last week enacted a prohibition on the use of fireworks in the city limits, roughly running from upper Deer Valley, to Quinn’s Junction, to the edges of Park Meadows and to the McPolin Farm.
Park City officials are worried that fireworks could ignite a terrible wildfire as the area suffers through a spell of generally dry, hot weather. The City Council had been considering a ban and the unanimous vote in favor of a prohibition was expected.
The prohibition runs until Oct. 31, covering Independence Day and Pioneer Day, a Utah holiday that is usually celebrated with fireworks. It bars people from using numerous sorts of fireworks, including firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, cone-style devices and cherry bombs. Sparklers and snake-style novelty devices are not included in the ban. The prohibition also bars open flames like campfires and fire in pits.
The annual public display, which is held at Park City Mountain Resort, is not impacted by the ban and was still scheduled early in the week. Hugh Daniels, the emergency manager at City Hall, said measures are planned to guard against a fire during the PCMR display, such as mowing the grass and having the Park City Fire District soak the landing area prior to the display.
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Daniels said in an interview the high temperatures and low humidity levels are drying out vegetation. As the vegetation dries, it is more susceptible to a wildfire, he said. Park City adopted similar bans four times in the period between 2007 and 2014, according to a report co-authored by Daniels that was submitted to the elected officials in mid-June.
"Those years had similar low humidity, drought, windy, dry and hot weather conditions which led to an increase in wildfires throughout the state including Summit County," the report said.
Daniels noted officials are able to seek reimbursement for the costs of fighting a wildfire if it is started by fireworks.
The ban could be lifted later in the summer if conditions improve, Daniels said in the report.
Paul Hewitt, the chief of the Park City Fire District, said the agency supports the City Council’s enactment of a fireworks ban.
"There’s no fire chief that’s going to argue that . . . I would never second guess them," he said.
Hewitt said the Fire District plans to put trucks designed to fight brush fires and regular fire trucks on patrol in neighborhoods on the 4th of July. The Fire District will also have more firefighters on duty on Independence Day than would be working on a typical day.
The fireworks ban does not extend into the unincorporated areas of Summit County such as the Snyderville Basin. A Summit County spokesperson said Tuesday the state forester makes the determination and has not issued a ban.
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