SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – “And the rocket’s bad air…”
That’s how the song goes, right?
While fireworks are a beautiful sight, they really aren’t the best idea for Utah right now.
With continuing air quality issues, drought and heightened wildfire risk, fireworks are truly a triple threat.
That’s why this year, both local and state officials took action, banning fireworks in many areas across the state.
Salt Lake City, for example, is doing away with its public firework displays and replacing them with laser light shows to celebrate the Independence Day and Pioneer Day holidays.
But how much can a simple firework impact our air quality?
More than you might expect.
According to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, there are two things that make fireworks smoke so harmful to Utah’s air
Experts say these particulates are especially harmful to children and older adults with respiratory conditions.
Other pollutants in fireworks such as sulfur and potassium, which give fireworks their unique pops of color, also pose health risks and have been linked to lung disease, acute bronchitis, and increased risk of respiratory infections
ABC4’s Chief Meteorologist Alana Brophy echos these concerns but says air quality isn’t the only spike we see around this time. Fire danger also remains a serious concern for the state.
“After a period of thunderstorms thanks to monsoon moisture this week, drier air is on the way, but the weather pattern brings a different weather threat for the Independence Day weekend. Fire danger spikes for a portion of the state and that is a direct link to air quality,” Brophy says.
And the ongoing drought certainly isn’t helping the situation.
“With 83% of Utah facing extreme drought conditions, gusty winds have no problem creating hazy skies and blowing dust. Our dry dirt and sand is easily suspended into the air we breathe, and that can lead to a decline in air quality,” Brophy explains.
Here’s how you can keep track of the air quality in your area of the Beehive State.