Deputies and fire districts ready extra patrols for the Fourth
To give residents extra peace of mind this Fourth of July and remind everyone that lighting off fireworks will not be tolerated; Park City Fire Department and Summit County Wildland Fire crews will roam neighborhoods with fire trucks, one of the first times the fire districts have sent brush fire trucks on patrol in years.
According to Park City Fire Chief Paul Hewitt, the brush trucks are each equipped with 250 gallons of water and will patrol neighborhoods between July 1 and July 7 and again during July 24 celebrations.
"It helps residents feel comfortable knowing a truck is out in the neighborhoods," he said. "It lets the public know we are controlling and monitoring the fire ordinance and taking it very seriously. This isn’t normal for us to send brush trucks on patrol, but this is not a normal year."
Hewitt added that all of the district’s fire stations will be staffed and ready to rapidly respond to any report.
"Even if we are responding to false alarms all night, better than miss the one time it is a real fire," he said.
Summit County Fire Warden Bryce Boyer said that response time will be much faster if a truck is out on patrol.
"If we have a truck with us already, we can get the fires while they are still small," he said. "It decreases our response time and makes us more prepared."
The fire department will not be the only agency out in force on July 4, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and Park City Police Department also said they will increase patrols over the holiday and they will not hesitate to issue citations to anyone who has an open burn or is setting off fireworks.
Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter said that he usually has more policemen on patrol during the holiday anyway, but this year, they will be paying extra attention to any reports of fireworks being set off.
"Our officers are aware of everyone’s concerns and will be enforcing the ordinance accordingly," he said. "Any kind of fires, fireworks or other potentially hazardous activity is a big deal this year."
Despite multiple residents voicing concerns about the show, Hewitt said that Park City Mountain Resort will still hold its fireworks show if conditions are favorable.
"They are professionally done shows so they are under strict guidelines regarding how hard the wind can be blowing, making sure the landing zone is wet and how large the landing zone has to be," Hewitt said. "The shows will be coordinated and controlled and we have even extended the safety precautions this year.
Hewitt added that the Fire District would not allow the fireworks show if they did not feel like it could be done safely. A staffed fire truck will be on scene at Park City Resort in case something goes wrong.
"Our response time will be nothing since we have a truck there," he said. "The resorts have a $2 million insurance policy for the fireworks show and use fireworks that are cold by the time they land. Professional shows are far less dangerous and don’t concern us nearly as much as the amateur fireworks on the side of the road."
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“We’re kind of turning the corner … and it’s now time to maybe put out the welcome mat in a careful and thoughtful manner,” said Bill Malone, president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau.”