Police, Fire Departments Ready To Enforce Firework Restrictions In Utah
DRAPER, Utah – Utah firefighters said they are nervous for the holiday weekend and the threat from fireworks.
In Draper and across the Salt Lake Valley, police and fire departments said they’re prepared to issue citations to violators, not warnings.
“We’re worried about how dry it is,” said Chief John Eining with the Draper Police Department as he scanned the houses on Traverse Ridge. “We’re worried about how dangerous the conditions are up there. Just one spark could set off the whole mountainside.”
Eining said the heat, drought and fireworks in Utah are a recipe for disaster, which is why the city has large areas off-limits to fireworks.
“The vast majority of the city is restricted,” he said.
He has organized overtime shifts from Friday through Monday, with four officers each night, dedicated to firework enforcement.
“We’re just going to be out patrolling these restricted areas,” Eining said. “For us, it’s going to be a zero-tolerance, so if you get caught lighting a firework in a restricted area, you’re going to get a citation.”
Officials with the Unified Fire Authority said they have the same worry and approach for the Salt Lake Valley.
“I’m more concerned this year than I’ve ever been,” said Brad Larson, the authority’s fire marshal.
A fireworks citation could carry a $1,000 fine, Larson said.
“If a resident is caught breaking the law, there won’t be tolerance for it,” Larson said. “They will be issued a citation.”
Both Eining and Larson said they won’t be taking excuses this year that somebody didn’t know about the restrictions.
“It’s not fun for us to go and issue citations on a holiday when people are trying to have a good family time, but it’s so important this year that we do it because we think that the consequences of not doing it could be so severe,” said Eining.
They also encouraged residents to use the non-emergency dispatch number to report violations, adding that they should only call 911 in an emergency.
Sandy and Salt Lake City residents can reach dispatch by calling 801-799-3000, and those living in the rest of the Salt Lake Valley can call 801-840-4000.
The penalty for discharging fireworks outside of the legal dates, or for violating restrictions, is a class B misdemeanor, according to the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
“County and state law enforcement officers will be enforcing all firework regulations and bans to ensure compliance,” the division said in a press release.
The legal dates this summer for lighting fireworks are July 2–5 and July 22–25.
“Anyone found to be responsible for starting a wildfire will be held accountable, both criminally and civilly,” the division’s press statement said.
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