Fireworks ban is debated |

Fireworks ban is debated

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Enjoy fireworks at backyard barbecues July 4 because on Pioneer Day the fiery private displays might be banned.

"Right now we have a high fire danger, but it’s not extreme," Summit County Fire Warden Bryce Boyer said. "If we keep this kind of weather, we’ll be in extreme by the 24th."

Buying rockets, fireballs and firecrackers still means driving one hour to Evanston, Wyo. But fireworks that don’t shoot higher than 15 feet are available at grocery stores in Summit County, which worries Boyer.

"They have a lot of potential for causing wildfires, especially if people aren’t cautious and don’t pay attention to what they’re doing," he said, adding that a hose or water should be readily available. "Be really careful where you’re setting them off and make sure that the area you’re using them in is green and you don’t have a lot of dead, dry and cured grasses around."

Almost 20 of his 70 calls last year were fireworks-related, Boyer said.

"I figure this year it will probably be busier, unless we ban them the 24th," he added.

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When members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Utah’s dominant religion, celebrate the lives of early Mormon pioneers who lived in the Salt Lake valley, staples of the celebrations are sparkler-waving children and fireworks in backyards.

But grocery stores that sell fireworks on Independence Day could be prohibited from selling them on July 24.

While high-flying bottle rockets and Roman candles are still illegal in Utah, so-called class C fireworks that don’t shoot higher than 15 feet, or travel more that 10 feet along the ground, are allowed.

The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service prohibit the use of fireworks on federal land.

But state law normally allows class C fireworks to be sold for three days before and after New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year, July 4 and July 24. In Summit County this year TNT Fireworks is permitted to sell fireworks at Albertsons at Pinebrook and Wal-Mart and Smith’s Food and Drug at Kimball Junction.

This week, state officials hadn’t banned fireworks completely.

But even legal fireworks cause fires when not used cautiously and under adult supervision, warn firefighters, who add that fireworks can cause burns and eye injuries.

Fireworks should be discharged on a hard surface like a driveway and spent fireworks should be doused with water.

On June 27, the Summit County Commission could decide whether to ban stores from selling fireworks on Pioneer Day.

"Most likely, the 24th, they will not be allowed," Boyer explained.