A wildfire might be at end of firework fuse | ParkRecord.com

A wildfire might be at end of firework fuse

The Park Record editorial, June 24-27, 2017

There is still lingering snow at the highest elevations of the Park City area and the slight cooling of temperatures in the past week was welcome.

But everyone in Park City and outlying Summit County needs to realize there is the danger of a wildfire nonetheless.

Anyone who has lived in Park City or the Snyderville Basin for even a short time is likely familiar with bureaucratic terms like wildland-urban interface, which is the area where development reaches open land, and defensible space, which is the ground around a structure that should be kept clear of combustible materials.

As the Fourth of July approaches, followed by Pioneer Day on July 24, fire safety is critical. One only needs to look at the images of blazes elsewhere in the state to understand the consequences of a terrible wildfire. A wildfire in the Park City area could be devastating in densely developed neighborhoods like Old Town and Summit Park. The damage to the mountain resorts could likewise be disastrous and have wide impacts to the Park City-area economy.

The fire season in the Park City area has been mild thus far. The strong snowpack of the past winter, though, would tend to lead to a fire season beginning later than in places at lower elevation. There is lots of vegetation to fuel a wildfire if it was to dry out in coming weeks.

The Park City government this week smartly banned fireworks as a precaution. The ban also includes open flames in the city like campfires. Park City leaders have regularly taken the same step over the years depending on the conditions by late June. Summit County has not enacted a similar ban.

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The National Weather Service forecasts a dry pattern with temperatures reaching into the 80s over the next week, conditions that could become problematic for firefighting efforts if they persist and the temperatures increase even just a little from what is forecast.

Even with a fireworks ban in Park City, we anticipate there will be plenty of firecrackers, cherry bombs and, even more dangerously, bottle rockets and Roman candles illegally ignited on the 4th of July. There always is, regardless of whether there is a ban or even the legality of certain sorts of fireworks at any time.

People in Park City must realize there could be a wildfire at the end of the fuse of a firework.