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Salt Lake City issues ban on fireworks, open burning

Posted at 2:56 PM, Jun 22, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — With drought conditions worsening across the state, Salt Lake City issued a city-wide fireworks and open burning ban Tuesday.

READ: Provo brush fire caused by fireworks lit by minor

Mayor Erin Mendenhall said the ban covers Class C or "common" fireworks, which include smoke bombs and sparklers. In addition, the open burning ban includes all fires that are built outside for the purposes of cooking or warming.

"Our foothills, open spaces, and even our yards and park strips are dry and could be ignited by a single spark, threatening life, safety, and property," said Mendenhall.

Both bans will be in place until further notice.

The mayor said the decision on the bans was made after collaborating with city fire officials.

"There has never been a greater concern by these experts about the threat of fire to Salt Lake City," said Mendenhall. "We take their recommendations seriously and we know it's not made lightly."

“This is a hazard that we have some control over. It is a hazard that is completely within our ability to mitigate, which is why we feel a ban on all fireworks and novelties is appropriate and necessary,” Salt Lake City Fire Department Chief Karl said.

Mendenhall referenced other western U.S. states that have been devastated by wildfires in recent years as a reason for the bans, but did sympathize with those who will miss out on personal fireworks this summer.

"I know this might feel like a loss of a beloved tradition for all of those Salt Lakers who love their driveway fireworks and I understand it's disappointing, but given our current climate, it's simply not worth the risk," Mendenhall said.

READ: Utah House Speaker says no to special session on fireworks

The city will still hold professional fireworks shows on July 4 at Jordan Park and July 24 at Liberty Park.

On Monday, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson asked residents to refrain from lighting fireworks during the current drought to reduce the threat of starting wildfires. Wilson said her position did not have the authority to issue a county-wide ban, similar to Gov. Spencer Cox's inability to enact a statewide ban.

Cox told FOX 13 he was pleased with Salt Lake City's fireworks ban in the middle of an historic and dangerous drought.

“We support the decisions of local governments to protect their communities during times of high fire danger.”

Several communities and counties have already announced a firework ban, including parts of Millcreek, Cottonwood Heights, Holladay, Myton City and Eagle Mountain.