The Park Record editorial, June 30-July 3, 2012
Due to the extreme fire danger, Park City, Kamas, Coalville, Henefer and Summit County have all banned the use of fireworks through the end of summer. In response, almost all of the local grocery stores have volunteered to cooperate by dismantling their fireworks displays.
Of course, die-hard pyromaniacs can still make the annual trek to Evanston, Wyoming, where the Wild West still rules when it comes to real beer and big fireworks. But we are hoping saner heads will prevail.
If anyone has any doubts about the volatility of the conditions right now, they only need take a deep breath or look toward the horizon. Smoke from current fires in Duchesne, Sanpete and Utah counties have drifted into local valleys, giving residents a whiff of what could come their way if just one careless person ignites an errant blaze in the coming weeks.
Make no mistake about it: Local hydrologists and meteorologists are calling the current conditions among the driest and most dangerous in decades.
Think about it. When is the last time you saw a drop of rain on your windshield? The last measurable precipitation in Northern Utah was at the end of May. Since then temperatures have been above average and most afternoons have seen noticeable spikes in wind speeds. Simply put, local wildlands have been spinning in a hot clothes dryer for more than a month.
Given the extraordinary conditions and the local terrain, it is almost inevitable that Summit County which boasts 500,000 acres of national forest land, 15,000 of state parks and 14,000 acres of preserved natural habitats will experience at least one wildfire this summer.
So, even though forest fires can be triggered in many other ways, we are grateful to the store owners who have volunteered to take a hit by not selling incendiary devices over the Fourth of July holiday. They will see a loss in sales as a result of pulling popular products like firecrackers, cherry bombs, bottle rockets, roman candles and whistlers off the shelves and we applaud their willingness to remove temptation from those who might not have the good sense to obey local fireworks bans.
In deference to local authorities and their commitment to the communities they serve, The Market at Park City in Snow Creek Plaza , the Fresh Markets on Park Avenue and at Quarry Village, and the Food Town Market in Kamas have taken the high road by not selling fireworks. (As of Friday, Smiths Food and Drug at Kimball Junction had halted sales of aerial fireworks but was still offering small ground-based fireworks.) They were under no legal obligation to do so and we commend them for their actions.
The coming holiday weekend will be a tense one for public safety personnel and for everyone. Local grocers have done more than their part. Now it is up to the rest of us. That means exercising extreme caution with cigarettes, guns and ammunition. We can’t control natural causes like lightning, but certainly we can avoid the kinds of stupid human tricks that could turn thousands of acres into a deadly torch.
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It was an important decision since the rest of the talks will be heavily influenced by the processing option selected by the Planning Commission on Wednesday.