Open burns and personal fireworks banned in Summit County
While many people may have planned to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday by shooting off fireworks on their own, a new fire restriction issued Tuesday morning will have them rethinking their plans or considering one of the larger shows in the area.
The Utah state forester issued an order banning all open burns throughout unincorporated areas of Summit County. The restriction covers the use of personal fireworks, cutting, grinding, welding and cigarette smoking, unless smoking is done in an area with no vegetation, according to a Summit County press release. Campfires will still be allowed in improved pits, which include enclosures built into the ground, as well as pits purchased from hardware stores.
Summit County Fire Warden Bryce Boyer said a new fire outlook report released on Monday heavily influenced the state forester’s decision. He said fuels have considerably dried out within the last several days and that most levels are in the upper to moderate range for fire danger, bordering on high.
The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City also issued a warning of critical fire weather conditions Tuesday morning. The weather service forecasts hot temperatures, as well as gusty winds, through the holiday. Boyer cited recent wildfires throughout the state as another reason the ban was warranted. Two human-caused fires have occurred near the Whitney Reservoir in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, including the Monviso Fire that burned more than 65 acres, as well as two fires that were likely caused by lightning strikes in North Summit.
The Dollar Ridge Fire in Wasatch County hadspread to nearly 30,000 acres and forced the evacuation of between 200-300 homes as of Tuesday afternoon.
“We also have fires in Northern and Southern Utah,” he said. “They have put a drain on us and are tapping out our resources. Air craft is being committed at a much higher rate at this point, so it is limiting what we have available.”
Summit County’s fire restriction will remain in effect indefinitely. The county’s six municipalities have the authority to regulate firework use and open burning on their own. Park City enacted a ban on June 11 that will be in effect until it is rescinded.
Most of the municipalities in the eastern end of the county base a decision on whether to ban fireworks on state statute. Boyer said Henefer, Kamas and Coalville are the only East Side municipalities as of Tuesday afternoon to follow the state’s lead and ban open burning. However, he said Oakley and Francis were likely to follow suit.
Fireworks are never allowed on National Forest lands or within the boundaries of state parks, including Rockport, Echo and the Jordanelle reservoirs. The use or possession of fireworks on public lands is subject to confiscation and fines of up to $5,000 and six months in jail.
Fireworks are permitted on four occasions: the Fourth of July, Pioneer Day, New Year’s Eve and the Chinese New Year. A new state statute has reduced the number of days that fireworks are allowed from three days to two days before and two days after each of those holidays.
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The Summit County unemployment rate dropped slightly in October, the state Department of Workforce Services reported.