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Utah legislative leaders won't back all-out fireworks ban

Posted at 4:48 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 20:02:03-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Republican leaders on Utah's Capitol Hill tell FOX 13 they will not seek an all-out fireworks ban — for now.

READ: No water means no Fourth of July fireworks in Park City

In an interview on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, confirmed they did not intend to seek a total ban on personal fireworks. Instead, Utahns are urged to closely follow the restrictions set by the city or town they live in.

"We have to be making people aware, they’ve got to be smart about this. They’ve got to be prudent and careful and please follow the directions of their local government entities in where and when they can set those fireworks off," he said. "And then everybody will be safe."

But asked specifically if there would be an all-out ban this year, Sen. Vickers told FOX 13: "No."

Governor Spencer Cox has threatened a ban because of the state's ongoing drought emergency and wildfires that continue to burn. He has been in discussions with legislative leadership about it. But the only pathway for the governor to enact a ban is through an executive order. A law passed by the legislature earlier this year allows Gov. Cox to do so for 30 days, but he must then obtain legislative approval to extend it.

The governor's office did not immediately have a comment when contacted by FOX 13 on Wednesday. The legislature last month did grant Gov. Cox an extension on his state of emergency due to drought.

READ: Eagle Mountain bans fireworks amid drought, wildfire season

Some communities have enacted tough fireworks restrictions. For example, St. George has banned fireworks in nearly the entire community with the exception of 16 parts in the community. Sen. Vickers said his own community of Cedar City was planning something similar. Eagle Mountain banned them entirely.

See a list of communities and fireworks restrictions here

Right now, it is illegal to set of fireworks until July 2-5 for the Fourth of July, and July 22-25 for the Pioneer Day holiday. Fireworks remain banned on all state lands, federal lands and unincorporated private lands.

Sen. Vickers said it is possible the legislature reviews the decision after the Fourth of July holiday.