SANDY, Utah (ABC4) – In the midst of a historic drought, record temperatures, and statewide wildfires, fireworks go on sale this Thursday, causing great concern for state officials who say they are powerless to ban them.
Governor Spencer Cox says he asked the Attorney General’s office about outlawing personal fireworks this summer.
“I do not have the authority to implement a statewide ban,” Gov. Cox said Thursday at his monthly news conference. “I do think it’s a good idea.”
Monday, with the bone-dry vegetation of Sandy’s Dimple Dell Park as a backdrop, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said her hands are tied as well.
“There is a limitation of my authority for a county-wide ban,” Mayor Wilson said. “We are relying on our local entities to review their situations. Many have banned fireworks outright and some are suggesting restraint.”
Salt Lake County has created a map to show where fireworks are prohibited and allowed. It’s interactive and constantly evolving.
“Just because you check today and see you’re in an unrestricted area doesn’t mean that maybe tomorrow you will be in a restricted area,” Salt Lake County Emergency Manager Clint Mecham said. “That’s entirely at the discretion of the municipalities, the cities, and towns in which you live.”
Meanwhile, county leaders are encouraging residents to ditch the driveway pyrotechnics and attend professional shows instead.
“We want to celebrate through those opportunities this year and avoid personal fireworks shows,” Mayor Wilson said. “And I know that’s disappointing.”
“We believe in liberty and freedom,” Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton said. “But we also believe in personal responsibility and it’s time for all of us to step up this year and to find other ways to celebrate these holidays in July other than using fireworks.”
Lighting fireworks in the wrong place or the wrong time could mean a $1,000 fine. If you do start a fire, you could be responsible for the cost of fighting it and any damages it causes.
To see if fireworks are legal in your area, click here.
For Salt Lake County residents, click here.