SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Fireworks go on sale Friday for the first time this summer in Utah.
Local leaders said they hope Utahns can be as responsible this summer as they were the last.
There were 115 fires caused by fireworks last year which is down substantially from 2020.
However, fire officials said all of the fires were 100 percent preventable.
“I do want to thank Uthans for their responsibility,” said Utah Gov. Spencer Cox.
With 100-plus degree days on the horizon with no rain in the forecast and firework season starting, coupled with extremely flammable grasses, catastrophic wildfires are bound to happen unless Utahns light them off responsibly according to fire officials.
They’ve been a tradition since the nation was founded.
“If you are open to just skipping fireworks it’d be a great year to do that,” said Cox.
But, in Utah year after year, they cause hundreds of fires ending in thousands even millions of dollars in damages.
“We have hot conditions and dry conditions and we add a little wind and that makes a very scary situation when it comes to wildfire,” said executive director of Utah’s Department of NAtural Resources Brian Steed.
There have been roughly 250 wildfires already in Utah amounting to more than 5,000 acres of land burned.
“If you are going to use fireworks you need to use them responsibly,” said Steed. “Again only at the right time and at the right places.”
The sale of legal fireworks begins Friday, but they can’t be legally lit until July 2nd.
If a Utahn is caught lighting fireworks before this date they could face up to a $1,000 fine ot they could be responsible for paying for the cost of putting out a wildfire if they are found guilty of causing it.
“Trust me I have talked to people who have accidentally set these fires,” said Cox. “You don’t want to be the one who is having a good time and then in just a matter of seconds everything goes south. Your house burns down, your neighbor’s house burns down or you start a wildfire that causes the state 50 million dollars. That happens.”
Many cities will have firework restrictions in place so fire officials said it’s vital Utahns learn these.
“It is a huge human capital investment,” said Steed. “You have tons of people that need to be involved plus the equipment. It really is millions of dollars every time you have a wildfire especially when they get large in scale.”
So far this year, fire officials said, there have been 247 wildfires burning more than 5,000 acres.
Fireworks sales start Friday, but they can not be let off until July 2nd.
Again, worth repeating, Utahns could face up to a $1,000 fine and if you cause a wildfire you could be subject to pay for all of the damages which could be millions of dollars.