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St. George fire chief signs order restricting fireworks in specific areas ahead of Pioneer Day

Southern Utah

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ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) – With severe fire danger in Southern Utah, St. George fire officials are urging caution as residents are once again allowed to legally set off fireworks ahead of Pioneer Day.

Fireworks are allowed to be sold and discharged in Utah on July 22-23 and July 25 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. On Pioneer Day, July 24th, legal discharge times extend until midnight.

St. George fire chief Robert Stoker signed an order prohibiting fireworks in specific areas of the city. First responders said preventable fires caused by fireworks are stretching resources thin.

Fireworks of any kind are not to be used within 200 feet of dry washes and drainages, river and stream corridors, hillsides, plateaus and mesa tops, and any undeveloped open space or natural terrain.

With an abundance of dry vegetation and sweltering heat, fire officials said that unless residents take fireworks safety seriously, they might want to leave fireworks to the professionals.

“Any spark along with that wind can really spread a fire quite rapidly,” Stoker said. “Even if you’re shooting off state-approved fireworks in a restricted area, you can receive a citation.”

During the 4th of July weekend, St. George firefighters responding to 26 fires, with several starting in restricted areas. Fire crews doused a number of dumpster fires caused by fireworks that weren’t properly disposed of, Stoker said.

St. George fire officials continued to respond to calls nearly every day for a week after the holidays, as residents illegally lit off even more.

“That’s putting their lives in jeopardy,” Riverdale resident Brandon Montgomery said. “If we can do our part to keep them away from the fires and not start any of them, that’s one less thing they have to worry about.”

If you do plan to ignite any fireworks, fire officials recommend first talking with neighborhoods beforehand, being aware of any pets that may be sensitive. When you do light them, back away quickly.

“Have a bucket of water there that you can soak the spent fireworks in,” Stoker added. “Those do carry embers with them after they’ve ignited.”

The City of St. George provides an interactive map showing fireworks restrictions throughout the area and many safety tips:

  • Use only fireworks purchased in the State of Utah from licensed dealers or retailers. If you purchased the fireworks out of state, they may not be legal in this state.  You will be cited if found to be in possession of illegal fireworks, and will be responsible to pay for damages and extinguishing costs as a result of any fires that you cause.
  • Use fireworks only with responsible adult supervision at all times.
  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
  • Light the fireworks in an open area and on a non-combustible surface, such as a driveway or paved area. 
  • If windy conditions exist, do not light fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water available.
  • Handle used and “dud” fireworks with a shovel.
  • Soak fireworks thoroughly in a bucket of water, or douse them with a hose prior to disposal.
  • Keep clear while lighting fireworks, and do not lean over them at any time.
  • Do not relight “dud” fireworks.
  • Watch out for your pets and animals.  It is preferable to keep them indoors and away from the displays.
  • Check for any restrictions that may apply to your area.

Use of fireworks is completely prohibited in the development north of Snow Canyon Parkway on State Road 18, including The Ledges development.

Prohibited activities include:

  • No discharge of fireworks within the areas listed
  • No firecrackers, cherry bombs, roman candles, bottle rockets, single or reloadable mortars, or other Class “C” fireworks not the State of Utah approved.
  • Recreational fires, unless the location is approved by the fire department (click here for recreational burning regulations)
  • Welding, cutting, or grinding within the areas listed, unless approved by the fire department.
  • No sky lanterns.

To report fireworks use in restricted areas, authorities urge residents to call 435-627-4300 to report it.

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Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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