July 21, 2007
Park City and surrounding Summit County escaped Independence Day without a major fireworks-caused blaze. We hope people here wake up on July 25 without the telltale signs of a big fire in the air.
In Utah, of course, Pioneer Day, 20 days after the 4th of July, is celebrated with fireworks. The holiday is Tuesday, and Utahns will remember the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley. The holiday is bigger in other parts of the state than it is in Summit County, but the blasts of firecrackers are heard here as well.
In Park City and the Snyderville Basin, fireworks are banned, regardless of how powerful they are or how high they fly. Someone lighting a firework on the West Side is breaking the law. We expect the authorities will prosecute those who are caught. The leaders on the West Side were smart to choose the ban. They only allowed some firecrackers on the 4th of July because they did not have time to complete the bureaucratic process of banning them before Independence Day. If they had, the 4th of July would have been celebrated without people lighting fireworks on their own.
Residents on the West Side — firefighters and property owners, especially –have long been frightened of the possibility of a wildfire searing through places like Summit Park and Deer Valley, nestled on foothills or mountainsides and situated close to dry brush and trees. The danger, people who live here must realize, is great in Summit County — West Side and East Side. An errant bottle rocket or misplaced fireball from a Roman candle could be disastrous. In the tinderbox conditions, a fire could spread more quickly than someone realizes. The images from the devastation left by forest fires in the central and southern areas of Utah are still vivid. Let’s not turn Summit County into a similar scene.
Meanwhile, we urge caution in some outlying cities, where, incredulously, lighting fireworks is legal on Pioneer Day. Places like Kamas, where state-sanctioned fireworks are allowed, are risking catastrophe. Skip the pyrotechnics this year, please.