OGDEN, UT (ABC4) – Starting tomorrow Utahns can begin lighting off fireworks to celebrate Independence Day. Last summer, many cities across northern Utah banned all fireworks due to the drought. That’s not the case this year after a wet spring helped lower the fire risk. Nonetheless, firefighters are still preparing for a busy weekend.
For many, the boom, fizzle, and popping sounds of fireworks represent freedom. For firefighters, those same sounds are often the precursor to a 911 call.
“I’d say on an average day we might have five fire calls whereas on the 4th of July, and the days leading up to, we could have 30 to 40,” Kevin Brown told ABC4. Brown is the fire marshal for the Ogden City Fire Department. He also explained that during the days surrounding Independence Day, the number of calls for medical help also increases.
This is expected to happen this weekend.
“Restrictions this year are going to be what we call our historical or typical restrictions,” Brown explained. “(The area) east of Harrison Blvd. and along the river parkway.”
In 2021, Ogden was one of many cities to ban fireworks altogether during the summer months. However, this spring was both cooler and wetter than the previous year. This helped reduce the fire risk level. Brown added, “It’s helped with the fuel moistures, so we didn’t feel a city-wide ban was appropriate.”
While fireworks are permitted in certain areas within city limits, the fire department encourages people to go to public firework displays rather than shooting off their own this 4th of July.
During the holiday weekend, the fire department will have extra units on patrol with a focus on the restricted areas. They will be looking for spot fires and other problems that come up. The police department will also have patrol officers out citing those who light fireworks in restricted areas.
Just a week ago, a grass fire burned seven acres near Ogden City limits. The Weber Fire District was on the scene in minutes and got the fire contained almost as quickly as it started. While fuel moisture levels are higher than they were compared to last year, the Weber Fire District told ABC4 the grass fire is a perfect example of how easily a fire can still spread. Cpt. Jeremy Winn added: “Look at the websites in your neighboring communities to see what the restrictions are, abide by those restrictions, and be very careful.”