Even with firework ban, police in Park City expect problems on the Fourth | ParkRecord.com

Even with firework ban, police in Park City expect problems on the Fourth

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

People in Park City should not hear a firecracker explode on the Fourth of July.

Or see fireballs from a Roman candle. And bottle rockets are not supposed to be used, either.

Park City, which is expected to be busy over the weekend with Independence Day crowds, banned fireworks as the holiday approached. City Hall leaders were worried that an errant firework could start a terrible blaze as the area suffers through hot temperatures and a spell of dry weather after a winter with only mediocre snowfall. The professional display at Park City Mountain Resort remains planned.

But the prohibition has not stopped everyone from setting off fireworks. Phil Kirk, a Park City Police Department captain, said the department received a few complaints about fireworks each night recently. Details about the reports were not immediately available. Fireworks could be heard on Thursday night in Old Town.

"I’m not sure everybody’s got the word fireworks are banned in Park City," Kirk said.

The Police Department posted nearly 100 fliers in Park City informing people of the prohibition. The posters outline what sort of fireworks are banned and warn that someone can be charged criminally if they use them.

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"I’m sure we’ll see more reports, more problems with the fireworks," he said.

The prohibition runs until Oct. 31. It includes Pioneer Day on July 24, a state holiday celebrated with fireworks. The prohibition covers fireworks used by amateurs such as firecrackers, cherry bombs, bottle rockets and cones are some of the prohibited fireworks. Sparklers and snake-style novelty devices are allowed. It also prohibits open flames, such as campfires and fire pits.

The flier indicates violations of the prohibition are class B misdemeanors, punishable by a jail sentence of six months and a $1,000 fine upon conviction. Someone convicted of a fireworks violation could also be required to cover the firefighting costs if a firework causes a blaze.

Kirk said the Police Department lets officers use their discretion when considering whether to warn someone or issue them a citation. He said, though, there is "not much leniency" when someone is found using bottle rockets, Roman candles or other sorts of projectile-style fireworks.

The Police Department is readying for a busy Fourth of July weekend. Kirk said extra Park City officers will be on duty and the department enlisted reinforcements from other law enforcement agencies. Kirk said at least 20 percent more officers will be on patrol between Friday night and Sunday compared to a typical weekend. There will be plainclothes officers on patrol monitoring City Park for alcohol offenses, he said. They will also be among the crowd that gathers at the Park City Golf Course to watch the fireworks display.

Kirk said he anticipates there will be parking and traffic problems, issues that typically arise each Fourth of July.

Summit County did not enact a similar firework ban. The Park City Fire District plans to conduct patrols on the Fourth of July with trucks designed to fight brush fires. Regular fire trucks will also be on patrol and the Fire District expected to put more firefighters on duty on Independence Day than would be on a typical day.