Cities set restrictions for holiday fireworks

Published: Friday, June 28 2013 7:25 p.m. MDT

At left, Alan Baker stocks the shelves at a TNT fireworks stand in Salt Lake County on Thursday. Above, signs in the stand remind patrons of the restrictions regarding aerial fireworks.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A new state law that goes into effect Monday is making it more difficult for cities and towns to prohibit or restrict the lighting of legal fireworks.

The law, passed during the 2013 Legislature, allows municipalities to prohibit the discharge of fireworks in specified areas, but they can no longer ban state-approved fireworks.

Under HB289, sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, local fire officials must determine that hazardous environmental conditions exist for a city or town to restrict use of state-approved fireworks, and municipalities have to pass an ordinance to do so.

Only fireworks that can be legally sold in Utah can be used in the state, meaning many popular explosives — firecrackers, M-80s, cherry bombs, bottle rockets and Roman candles — are prohibited, fire officials said.

State Fire Marshal Coy Porter said anything that shoots into the air and explodes — other than fireworks designated as "aerials" — is illegal in Utah.

Porter defined an aerial as a "multi-tube device that has a single fuse that can shoot up to 150 feet in the air, and has a pop, bang explosion once it's way up in the air." He said aerials are also known as cake fireworks, which are a multi-shot fireworks lit with a single fuse.

Porter said the new law allows "local entities to decide what makes the most sense for them."

State-approved fireworks can be purchased through July 27, but they can only be legally ignited between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. July 1-7 and July 21-27. The hours are extended to midnight on July Fourth and July 24.

A list of areas where fireworks use is restricted for the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day holidays is available on the Utah Department of Public Safety website.

Salt Lake County

Salt Lake City: Art Raymond, spokesman for Mayor Ralph Becker, said city officials want residents to have fun celebrating the holidays but to do so responsibly.

"Safety and fire awareness is a big deal for us," Raymond said. "We're going on another long streak of no rain, and things are drying out around us. We need people to be safe."

Firework restrictions in Salt Lake City include the area east of Foothill Drive and east of 1300 East to 500 South, including the University of Utah. All areas north of South Temple to State Street and North Temple to 200 West also are restricted.

The Salt Lake City Fire Department has posted a complete list of restricted areas and a map on its website.

"Our message is have fun but do so responsibly (and) look out for your neighbors," Raymond said.

Cottonwood Heights: City manager John Park said fireworks are restricted within 300 feet of any urban wildland interface, most of which are areas east of Wasatch Boulevard. Other restricted areas can be found online on the city's firework restriction area map.

Draper: A new firework restriction was added around Mehraban Wetlands Park. Other restricted areas are south of 13800 South, east of 1300 East and west of I-15, according to a city map.

Holladay: Aerial fireworks and sky lanterns are not prohibited within city limits. Fireworks are also prohibited east of Wasatch Boulevard.

Midvale: According to a city map, fireworks are restricted on the west edge of the city near the city boundaries.

Murray: There is a temporary ban on the use of fireworks and firearms within 300 feet of the Jordan River Parkway Trail, Murray Park and Historic Wheeler Farm.

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