SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Thursday marked the first day to legally shoot fireworks in many parts of the state, and authorities are warning people to beware of fire danger.
“Be smart,” said Ruth Palmer, who sells TNT fireworks. “You can be safe, but you can still have a good time.”
Dry and gusty conditions are not new, but with two human-caused fires over the weekend, fire departments were warning neighbors and at least one police department made clear they aren’t taking rule-breaking lightly.
“With the imminent fire danger, we have increased our staffing this weekend and will be taking a zero-tolerance stance on anyone lighting fireworks in prohibited areas,” the Draper Police Department tweeted. “Let’s have a fun, safe Independence Day!”
Unified Fire Authority has said just because you can shoot off fireworks from July 2 to July 5, doesn’t mean you should.
“Well it’s a judgment call,” said Keith Wieland, who typically attends the Murray City Independence Day event.
“You got to just be smart about it. If it’s windy on the Fourth, [fireworks] don’t get used,” he said.
And with most towns abandoning the usual parades and shows, new people are taking the celebration into their own hands.
“It kind of sucks with no fireworks anywhere else,” Aania Lozano said. “Everything’s closed down right now so we figured we’d just shoot some off by our house … This is a first for me personally.”
As someone who has sold fireworks for eleven years, Palmer knows better than most that this 4th of July is something else. Not only has she seen an increase in firework sales because of the canceled events, but she said their supply coming out of China has also taken a hit.
“Some of the things kids love we can’t get in this year,” she said. “You don’t think of [COVID-19] affecting your fireworks, but it definitely does.”
Still, there were plenty of fireworks to go around at tents across the state. And there’s plenty more to observe on this unique 4th of July.
“I’m a patriot and I like to celebrate the Fourth and our independence,” Weiland said.