SALT LAKE CITY — Fire departments throughout the Salt Lake Valley came together Friday to release a video urging residents to skip the use of personal fireworks during Utah's historic drought.
Full video: (Courtesy of Sandy City)
With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, officials are worried wayward fireworks could ignite extremely dry grass and shrubs and spark a dangerous wildfire.
In addition, fire departments are concerned about being overwhelmed with calls during the holiday, taking them away from vital calls that need an emergency response.
“With the extreme drought conditions we are experiencing, we have real concerns that our fire personnel will be inundated with fireworks-related incidences. Even in areas where fireworks are allowed, there are extreme risks of fires,” said Chief Terry Addison, Chair of the Salt Lake Valley Fire Alliance. “Emergency situations created by the use of personal fireworks are avoidable if residents choose to celebrate the holidays in other ways. The Salt Valley Chiefs have joined together to ask citizens to skip personal fireworks this year and allow local fire departments to focus on other emergency situations.”
FOX 13 spoke with the man behind the video, Sandy Fire Chief Bruce Cline.
“I just thought, 'What can we do as chiefs in the valley?' So I had this idea and sent an email out and said, 'Hey chiefs, let's get together,” Cline said. “Immediately, I got all the chiefs responding… Great idea.”
The video features fire chiefs from Bluffdale, Draper, Murray, Salt Lake City, Sandy, South Jordan, South Salt Lake, Unified Fire Authority, West Jordan, and West Valley City.
Cline admits it was a little intimidating having so many members of the top brass of the Salt Lake area in one place, but he praised them all for their great working relationship.
“All the chiefs are united, sharing the same message," he said.
Last year, the valley's agencies responded to more than 600 fireworks-related fires, and they fear this year could be worse.
Instead, the chiefs suggest attending professional fireworks displays or enjoying them from a distance on the holiday.