OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – For many Utahns, Monday was the last day to set off personal fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July. However, some cities temporarily banned fireworks due to the drought.
Today, the Ogden City Fire Department is thanking residents for following the new restrictions which, in turn, led to a nearly fire-free holiday weekend.
“A huge thank you to the community and the citizens for their part in this,” Ogden City Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Mike Slater told ABC4 Tuesday afternoon.
Slater said Ogden residents responded well to the current fireworks ban, adding, “People stepped up and it kept not only their community safe, but the firefighters and police officers that have to respond.”
Typically, Utahns can set off fireworks from July 2 through July 5.
Slater told ABC4 during those four days, the fire department responded to two firework-related fires. He added: “Versus almost 20 a day, so quite a huge reduction.”
He emphasized the fact that on a normal year, the department responds to an average of 20 fires every day from July 2 through July 5. He credited this year’s low fire count to the ban and the community’s overall adherence to the new restrictions.
Even with a fireworks ban in place, the fire department had extra patrols on duty all weekend long. Slater explained, “We staffed units, fire engines, brush trucks, our administrative team – myself. We were out just driving the streets of Ogden, especially in those high-risk areas just to ensure: one, that there weren’t any fires being lit; and second, if something did happen, we’d have a quick response to get on it before it grew.”
Along with the fire department, the police department also had extra patrols on duty during the holiday. It reported 190 firework-related calls over the weekend.
For those who were caught breaking the ban, they could be charged with a class B misdemeanor and a fine up to $1,000. However, according to Slater, “The goal was not to write citations; the goal was just to be present.”
According to the police department, citations are still being processed, and so far, only three have been issued.
With Pioneer Day coming up soon, firefighters are hopeful residents will continue following current restrictions. “Keep being safe, thank you for your diligence, continue to help us throughout the year and hopefully by the end of the year, we can say: ‘We did it,’” Slater added.
To the north of Ogden, in Brigham City, firefighters responded to a handful of fires over the holiday weekend, saying at least two were caused by fireworks.