Fireworks allowed on the Fourth
July 1, 2008
Grocery stores in Park City will sell fireworks for three days before July 4 and July 24.
"We don’t have a fireworks prohibition as far as standard fireworks for consumers, but we highly recommend people not use them," Park City Fire Marshal Ron Ivie said.
Beyond sparklers and snakes, fireworks sold in Utah can only travel about 10 feet in any direction, Ivie said.
"Most of the stuff that is Utah appropriate, is not too exciting," Ivie said. "If you want to enjoy nice fireworks, come to the public display."
Bottle rockets, Roman candles, firecrackers and shooting balls of flames can be purchased in Evanston, Wyo., which is about 60 minutes from Park City. But bringing those into Utah is a crime.
"Be careful, because you may be accountable for whatever outcome they may create," Ivie warned.
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Stores in the Snyderville Basin also stock fireworks.
"When you’re up here in a nice grassy, dry area, fireworks are one thing we don’t like to have," said Scott Adams, fire marshal for the Park City Fire District.
Only discharge fireworks on a hard surface, he said, adding that water should be nearby.
Two brush fires have recently flared up in Park City, Ivie said.
"The conditions right now probably don’t warrant prohibiting fireworks, but if we continue to have this hot weather, every day is more critical," Ivie said.
Fireworks also injure people.
"Kids pick up hot sparklers and this is probably the highest time of the year for burn injuries to children," Adams said.
And eye injuries caused by fireworks are commonplace, he said.
"There are more than 5,000 kids a year in the United States that have eye injuries associated with so-called consumer fireworks," Ivie said. "Some kids are permanently injured."
Because most fireworks are imported, poor quality makes them dangerous, he said.
"Don’t think that these things can’t malfunction," Ivie said. "From a safety standpoint, not just fire safety, but safety in general, these things are a problem."
An improperly disposed of cigarette was enough to set brush ablaze recently near Deer Valley Drive, Ivie said.
"I’d really urge caution," Ivie said. "These conditions are worsening."
Industry lobbyists pressure governments not to ban fireworks outright.
"They don’t want them banned ever, but obviously there are times when they need to be banned," Ivie said. "It’s just an invitation to disaster."
Strong winds and hilly terrain make Park City a potential tinderbox, he said.
"Don’t go to our neighbor to the east of us and get the illegal fireworks," Adams said about Wyoming. "Especially the bottle rockets, you never know where they’re going to go."
About a third of the calls the Summit County fire warden receives each year relate to fireworks.
State law allows for class C fireworks to be sold for three days before and after New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year, July 4 and July 24.