Fireworks lit in Park City, drawing police, as ban readied | ParkRecord.com

Fireworks lit in Park City, drawing police, as ban readied

Some in Park City last week apparently started Fourth of July celebrations early.

But City Hall wants the fireworks ended this week.

Amid concerns about the wildfire threat after a winter of scant snowfall, Park City officials within days intend to enact a ban on fireworks and open flames like campfires within the city limits.

The step was expected, but it highlights the worries as the area approaches what is normally a hot stretch even at the upper elevations. The recent precipitation likely was not enough to diminish the danger, and the rain could have spurred the growth of vegetation that could become wildfire fuel as it dries.

Mike McComb, who is the emergency program manager at City Hall, said it is anticipated the municipal government's fire official and building official, Dave Thacker, will enact the ban this week. McComb is heavily involved in the discussions about a ban, while Thacker drafted a report about the issue in anticipation of a Park City Council meeting on Thursday.

McComb said Tuesday the ban will not cover the professional fireworks display at Park City Mountain Resort on Independence Day. The Fourth of July display at PCMR would be reviewed closer to the day of the event if conditions worsen, he said.

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The ban is expected to be enacted as the authorities in Park City receive complaints about fireworks. The Park City Police Department last week logged cases in Prospector. They are believed to be some of the first of the season and were reported more than two weeks before Independence Day.

The police received the reports starting on Sunday afternoon. They stretched until that night. Someone on Butch Cassidy Court at 10:27 p.m. said they had heard fireworks for five consecutive nights. Less than an hour earlier, at 9:40 p.m., someone on Sidewinder Drive told the police fireworks had been heard that night and the night before.

Earlier on Sunday, someone on Fenchurch Drive at 2:10 p.m. told the police fireworks had been used in the daytime and nighttime hours. The person was worried about someone lighting fireworks in the dry conditions, according to department logs. A minute earlier, the police fielded a fireworks complaint from someone on Doc Holliday Drive.

"We're concerned about the danger involved, especially the fire hazard," Phil Kirk, a Police Department captain, said.

Kirk said police officers who respond could confiscate the fireworks and warn the people involved. The authorities have long cautioned they could pursue someone to reimburse the costs of fighting a fire started by fireworks.

Park City officials for years have worried about the prospects of fireworks or open flames like campfires starting a devastating wildfire in the community. Places like Old Town and Deer Valley are especially susceptible in the heavily wooded terrain.

"This year due to the below average precipitation and above average temperatures, along with the forecasted weather data, and fuel moisture content, fire danger is at a higher level than previous years," Thacker wrote in the report to the elected officials. "This coupled with the established wildland fire areas throughout the city create great fire safety concerns for the residents and structures in the area."