OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – During a city council meeting in North Ogden Tuesday night, leaders referred to the city as a tinder box, then passed a city-wide fireworks ban. Here’s what that means for residents:
In North Ogden, private firework displays will have to wait unitl next year.
“There’s just some concern with the safety and I think, in general, the council’s hearts are always in the right spot. They’re trying to do what they feel is best,” North Ogden City Manager and Attorney Jon Call told ABC4 Wednesday afternoon.
Typically, fire restriction are in effect in the neighborhoods up in the hills during the summer. That is still the case this year. Those restrictions cover all areas east of North Mountain Rd. and everything north of E. 3300 N.
However, with this year’s drought, the council voted to ban fireworks city wide. The ban is now in effect and is set to expire on Dec. 1.
According to wildfirerisk.org, the entire city is currently under some risk for wildfires, and nearly all homes in the city are exposed to fire risk whether through direct or indirect exposure to wildfires.
This has city officials on edge.
“The moisture level in fuels is extremely low,” explained Ryan Barker. He serves as a city coucil mayor and is also the fire marshal for North View Fire District.
He continued, “So yes, it won’t take much to get a wildfire going whether it’s up in the mountains or up in the bench area, but that also can include residences. Your shrubs, your trees, they’re all extremely dry and it won’t take much.”
From July 2 to July 5, the city will have extra police and fire personnel on patrol in case a fireworks-related emergency breaks out. For those who break any city fire restriction, officers may issue a fine.
Barker told ABC4 that along with a fine and possible class B misdemeanor, those who start a wildfire may also be responsible to pay for all damages caused.
City officials told ABC4 that restricting the use of fireworks during a record-breaking drought is not meant to punish residents.
“I think, in general, there’s not anyone who’s trying to be careless,” Call added. “I think people are just focused on the ways to make sure that we’re as careful as we can be.”