Improper use of fireworks to blame for 10 fires in the last two days

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Not even two days after Utahns were permitted to begin lighting fireworks, firefighters have responded to 10 fires caused by fireworks.

Officials with Unified Fire Authority said a brush fire Wednesday morning in Holladay came close to destroying homes.

“There were reports of fireworks going off in the area and this is, in fact, an illegal firing area for fireworks,” says Ryan Love with Unified Fire Authority.

Firefighters in Provo said children shooting fireworks into trees also caused a fire at Rock Canyon Park Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday, firefighters responded to seven brush fires in Sardine Canyon all caused by fireworks as well as a fire in Draper near the Jordan River Parkway Trail.

Firefighters said Utahns need to be aware of the state’s dry conditions.

“Although we’ve had a very wet spring and a shortened fire season, we cannot be complacent and put our guard down,” said Captain. Adam Archuleta with Salt Lake City Fire Department. “What that wet spring has allowed to happen is the potential fuels, the grasses, the scrub oak, and even trees have now grown taller and even thicker.”

Officials are aware that a number of Utahns head across the state border to purchase illegal fireworks but emphasize that certain types of fireworks are prohibited for a reason.

“Once you ignite that firework, you give up control somewhat of where that heat source goes,” said Captain Archuleta. “We’ve had a problem recently where it went into a garage, whether sometimes we store flammable liquids or things and those are easily ignitable sources.”

Fireworks-related incidents have had destructive outcomes in recent years.

In September 2018, a Herriman family lost their home because of a fire ignited by fireworks. In July 2017, several Cottonwood Heights residents suffered significant damages to their homes for the same reason.

“The costs are more than just financial. You burn someone’s house down, that’s several hundred thousand dollars worth of structural material, not to mention the irreplaceable items,” said Cpt. Archuleta. “I don’t know that we can necessarily put a price on the injuries that are also associated with fireworks, some of which will have lifelong effects.”

When lighting fireworks, officials advise users to:
– Use fireworks outdoors only.
– Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them!
– Always have water handy (a hose or buckets of water).
– Only use fireworks as intended. DO NOT try to alter them or combine them.
– Never re-light a “dud” firework (wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
– Use common sense when using fireworks. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the fireworks. The person lighting the fireworks should wear safety glasses.
– Alcohol and fireworks do not mix! Have a “designated” person light fireworks.
Only persons over age 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
– DO NOT ever use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives; they can kill! Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.

To find out where the firework restrictions are, click here for Unified Fire Authority’s interactive map.

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