MAGNA, Utah (ABC4) – In the midst of extreme drought conditions in the state, Governor Spencer J. Cox is asking residents to limit water usage while also banning fireworks on state and unincorporated lands.
“We’re coming out of one disaster and into another,” Cox says, referring to the waning COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly severe dryness in the state.
Effective on Tuesday, Executive Order 2021-10 will reduce lawn watering at some state facilities to two days per week, lowering a number from a previous order.
“It’s a bad year for fireworks,” Cox explained after giving the news in a press conference with other state water conservation experts.
Earlier on Tuesday, ABC4 reported several local fire officials and state leaders were concerned about the potential devastation fireworks could cause during what could be the worst drought in state history.
Last year, which was also a very dry summer, was bad enough. According to a report sent to ABC4 by Sheri Stevens, who manages the state fire marshal’s fireworks program, 217 fires were caused by fireworks and other incendiary devices in 2020.
Fireworks restrictions are done on a city-by-city level, and a statewide ban would have to be enacted by legislative action. In the press conference, Cox suggested it was entirely possible that one could be agreed upon shortly.
Other local leaders around the state have voiced their feelings on fireworks this summer.
Salt Lake County Council member and former state governor candidate Aimee Winder Newton tweeted her thoughts on shooting personal fireworks over the weekend, the same weekend Cox asked all Utahns of faith to pray for rain.
Speaking to ABC4, Newton elaborated on her remarks by saying her family will still be enjoying some fireworks this summer, but only those done by trained professionals in areas where it is safe to do so.
“As I’ve looked at the drought this year and all of our dry grasses, I’m worried about fireworks in July,” she explains. “My family and I have made a personal ban that we are not going to light fireworks, that we are going to enjoy the city’s fireworks shows. We feel strongly that we all need to step up and do things a little bit differently this year.”
However, with the Governor’s remarks on Tuesday afternoon, it is likely there will be no city-run fireworks shows and a statewide ban on festive explosives is imminent.