More cities take up call to ban fireworks
June 29, 2012
The skies over Summit County may not light up quite as brightly this July 4. Four cities in Summit County have followed the County Courthouse’s lead and banned most fireworks and all open fires this summer. Some of the town councils have even gone so far as to cancel the organized fireworks shows that normally accompany their town celebrations.
According to Park City Emergency Manager Hugh Daniels, the Park City Council passed an ordinance Thursday night that is similar to the one passed by Summit County, banning Class C fireworks and open fires.
"It will disappoint some people, but public safety is the overriding factor," Daneils," said. "It was a unanimous vote by the City Council and there was no public input. We banned the kind of fireworks that people can buy at the store, but sparklers and snake fireworks are not included in that ban and neither are the large Class A and B fireworks that Park City Resort sets off on the Fourth of July."
Daniels added that Park City Resort will have fire trucks on standby during the show and will water the ground before setting off fireworks.
Coalville passed a fireworks, sparklers and open fires ban Monday night, with the ordinance going into effect immediately.
Coalville City Hall employee Nicki Sargent said most residents think the ban is smart given the current conditions.
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"People seem to understand and are not upset," she said. "We even cancelled the fireworks show at our barbecue competition on Saturday because we just thought it wasn’t worth the risk."
Henefer Mayor Randy Ovard also cancelled his town’s fireworks show, the first time in 40 years residents will not see fireworks over their town on July 4.
"We have decided we will set off the fireworks and celebrate on New Year’s Eve instead," Ovard said. "There is just no safe place to do fireworks this year, unless we did them in the middle of Echo Reservoir."
The Henefer City Council called an emergency meeting Thursday night to pass a resolution banning fireworks and open fires. Ovard said all fireworks, including sparklers, have been outlawed to make sure there was no confusion.
"Sparklers can be just as dangerous and I didn’t want people thinking some kind of fireworks were OK, because none of them are this year," he said. "Every person I have talked to is in full support of the ban. We thought we might be overreacting at first, but then everyone told us we would be nuts to allow fireworks."
Ovard added that residents can have small fires in designated fire pits in their backyards if a hose or source of water is nearby.
"We are extra-concerned about a wildfire this year because our secondary water source is almost running out, so is Coalville’s," he said. "Some of the springs and Chalk Creek just look like a ditch."
Kamas is holding a special meeting Friday night to discuss a fireworks ban. Kamas Mayor Lewis Marchant said he is confident some type of restrictions will be approved.
"We have been strongly encouraged by Summit County, the fire department, and the Utah Governor to pass a fireworks ban," he said. "We have heard from a few citizens who are very concerned about the fire danger. I think most people are intelligent enough to be careful this year and won’t be upset if we ban fireworks."
Despite pressure by the County Courthouse and Governor, Oakley City may be the only place in Summit County where residents can celebrate the Fourth by setting off fireworks.
Oakley Mayor Blake Frazier said that he thinks the middle of the city is in "good enough condition" to allow fireworks.
"We are not going to ban them but we will discourage them," he said. "I have a tough time seeing how passing an ordinance will stop people from setting fireworks off. People don’t read ordinances."
Instead, he said, the city will encourage people to "not be stupid" and post signs explaining that residents will be held financially responsible if they start a wildfire.
"People shouldn’t set fireworks off in dry areas, which is a lot of places. But up on some places like Maple Ridge and other areas, it is wet enough that I don’t think it will be a major issue," he said. "Maybe after the Fourth we will reconsider and think about banning fireworks then."
The Park City Fire District, North Summit Fire District and South Summit Fire District are also encouraging residents to not use ammunition in dry or grassy areas.