SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Eighty percent of the state is in an exceptional drought. That’s the highest drought level there is. Tuesday night, Governor Spencer Cox spoke in a virtual town hall about the state’s drought, fireworks, and conserving water.
So far, firefighters battled more than 350 wildfires across the state.
“Because it is so dry, I am pleading with you, we are working with the legislator and local governments to cut back on fireworks this year,” says Cox.
Cox banned fireworks on all state and unincorporated private lands, and he expects additional fire restrictions. He says commercial fireworks will continue in Utah, but setting off your own fireworks is up in the air.
“I can’t tell you right now if there is going to be a statewide ban, but what I can tell you is that we need you, it’s just not worth it this year,” he says.
To help tell what droughts will do, the governor says the state started taking samples of soil moisture in 2006.
“This one is significantly worse, in fact, it is by some estimations it is the second worse drought we’ve had. The worst since 1956,” says Cox. “By others, it’s the worst drought we’ve had in recorded history.”
Cox and his team are asking Utahns to conserve water, limit using sprinklers, and talk to local water districts about the best ways to conserve usage.
He says, “It’s ok if our yards aren’t as beautiful as they have been in years past, it’s kind of a badge of honor this year if our grass isn’t green. That’s ok.”
Another topic someone brought up during the town hall is the potential of a new state flag and why we need one.
Cox says that’s really in the eye of the beholder and there are still decisions to be made adding, “it is very likely that this change will be put on the ballot, we will see what the legislator decides to do.”