The Summit County Council unanimously passed a fireworks ban at its weekly meeting Wednesday at the Sheldon Richins Building at Kimball Junction after pleas from local fire professionals that dry conditions have made the county susceptible to wildfires.
The ordinance went into effect Thursday, July 10 at 12:01 a.m. and specifies that the use of any and all class "C" fireworks shall be prohibited through the 2014 fire season, which will end on Oct. 31, 2014, on all unincorporated county land.
Park City has already banned fireworks in a similar ordinance.
Summit County Fire Warden Bryce Boyer, assisted by a group that included North Summit Fire District Chief Ken Smith and Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt, made a brief presentation indicating that Utah State Forester Brian Cottam supported a ban for the county.
Boyer said numerous fireworks-caused fires over the Fourth of July weekend stretched fire crews thin.
"We want this ban," Hewitt told The Park Record before the meeting. "County Council is very good at listening to the expertise of those in know."
"We have a lot more to lose than to win," Councilman David Ure said.
Although she noted that the county has received more rain this summer than last summer -- which included a similar fireworks ban -- Councilwoman Kim Carson said that allowing the private use of fireworks in unincorporated areas "is too great a risk."
Class "C" fireworks, according to the county ordinance, include:
- a firecracker, cannon cracker, salute, cherry bomb, or other similar explosive;
- a bottle rocket, skyrocket, or any device other than a model rocket that uses combustible or explosive material;
- a roman candle or other device that discharges balls of fire;
- a tube or cone aerial firework that propels comets, shells, salutes, flash shells, or similar devices; and
- a chaser, whistler, or similar device
Sparklers and snakes are still allowed, as well as public fireworks shows approved and attended to by fire professionals.
In addition, the ordinance prohibits all open fires during the 2014 fire season. Open fires are defined as fires not contained in a receptacle or structure specifically designed to contain the fire and prevent its spread outside the receptacle or structure. The receptacle or structure must be designed and located such that heat from the fire is precluded from starting a fire outside the receptacle or structure.
Ammunition, including steel-jacketed bullets, incendiary bullets and tracer bullets, is allowed, though the ordinance states that their use is "strongly discouraged."
Violations of the ordinance shall be deemed a class "B" misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 for individuals of $5,000 for corporations, and/or imprisonment for a term not to exceed six months.
Councilman Claudia McMullin summed up the thoughts of the council as the fire professionals left the meeting. "Stay safe out there," she said.