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Don't Light Fireworks In Dry Grasses; Do Use Common Sense, Says Summit County Fire Warden

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With two big holidays in July, first responders are gearing up for fireworks season. Fireworks rules and guidelines help minimize the risk of fire during your July 4 celebrations.

Summit County Fire Warden Bryce Boyer says there are no fire restrictions or firework restrictions currently because recent precipitation has led to more moisture in local vegetation. But that doesn’t mean people should go lighting off fireworks wherever they please.

“The main areas of concern would be around the cheatgrass areas," Boyer said. "They are drying out, and they will regardless of moisture—it's June grass, cheatgrass, so they will dry out. If you're in those areas, please don't light fireworks there.”

Boyer says it’s the first time in three or four years there hasn’t been a fireworks ban in the Summit County area, but there are still restrictions, as prescribed by a 2018 law passed by the state legislature in response to fires sparked by fireworks.

“Fireworks are only legal from July 2 through the fifth. The second, third and fifth are legal from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.," Boyer said. "Anytime outside of that, it can be a citation for illegal use of up to $1,000. On the Fourth of July, they extended it from the 11 a.m. to midnight.”

Boyer says it hasn’t been much of an eventful fire season so far, but Park City Fire was dispatched to a fireworks call in the Pinebrook area this past weekend, after a bush caught fire near a home. Boyer says even the class C fireworks that are sold in Utah are strong enough to start a fire.

“People kind of need to use common sense and good judgment as to where you’re lighting it," Boyer said. "Not in vegetated areas. Open areas are a better place to do it, as long as it's not within the cheatgrass areas.”

Boyer and the fire district will keep an eye on how summer shapes up, regarding fuel moistures and weather patterns. If vegetation dries out too much by the time the July 24 holiday rolls around, there may be some updates to local restrictions.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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