Firefighters discuss challenges of enforcing new fireworks restrictions ahead of Pioneer Day

Posted at 9:34 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 23:34:24-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Firefighters are gearing up for another round of fireworks coming this holiday weekend.

“The ones that are being the most reckless, careless, negligent; those are going to be the ones we focus on,” said Deputy Chief Reed Scharman of the West Jordan Fire Department.

Friday marks the first day of the 7-day period where fireworks are legal in the state for the Pioneer Day holiday.

But with new restrictions in many cities, fire and police departments are struggling with how they will enforce the bans. The restrictions were put in place after a busy Independence Day, where crews exhausted all resources trying to keep up with the fires.

“We don't want to see a repeat this weekend, we hope people will be cautious,” Scharman said.

In West Jordan there is a new ban of all aerial fireworks, and crews admit it will be hard to enforce.

“Enforcement is difficult, our police department will be the lead in trying to respond to calls that come in,” Scharman said.

Other agencies agree enforcement on new restrictions is near impossible. Because when a complaint comes in, the spark is gone and hard to track down.

“The new regulations are great, but it requires the public to buy in on it, to understand why we do it, and understand that it's for everyone's safety and well-being; there's not enough police officers to enforce this,” said Matthew McFarland with Unified Fire Authority.

Still fire and police departments will have extra crews on hand.

“We will have our fire crews out when it gets dark [Friday night] patrolling, trying to be a presence and remind people to show good common sense,” Scharman said.

“It's kind of the few who are reckless who ruin the fun for everyone else,” Redmond said.

Fire crews are encouraging people to go to a public show, and, if you insist on lighting off your own fireworks, they say make sure to do it safely and ensure you’re not in a restricted area. You can see maps of areas to avoid by clicking the links below.

Click here for a map of fireworks restrictions via Utah Fire Info

Click here for information on fireworks restrictions from Unified Fire Authority in Salt Lake County