SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – As the Fourth of July approaches firefighters are reminding people of the extreme danger and dry conditions throughout the state as people light off fireworks.
Eric Holmes, the spokesperson for Unified Fire Department, said the conditions are bone dry again this year. Although they warn people about the dangers, he said it’s likely many don’t realize how fast a fire can really move.
“I think maybe what people don’t realize how quickly those grasses are going to burn, and move the fire into something that’s not grass,” said Holmes.
Because of this, places like City Creek Canyon in Salt Lake City have implemented a campfire ban in addition to their ban on fireworks. City Creek Canyon has about 30 campfire sites.
“Each of those sites has a fire ring where people normally can have a fire in their fire ring for their picnic, but we determined, based on an evaluation, that because of conditions in this canyon, that created too much of a fire risk,” said Laura Briefer, Director, Salt Lake City Public Utilities Department. “It’s been very warm. We haven’t had any rain or other weather. The vegetation has become more dry and we want to make sure that we’re not risking fire danger in this canyon.”
Officials with Salt Lake County Animal Services tell ABC4 Utah that the Fourth of July holiday is also a dangerous time for pets because the fireworks can scare them.
“The really sudden noises, the squeals, the loud booms — they get scared. They can run, they can hide,” explained Randee Lueker, Development and Rescue Coordinator, Salt Lake County Animal Services. “The best thing to do is to keep them inside during the fireworks — maybe have some soft music playing our loud music. I like to have a loud movie playing when I’m at home with my dog for fireworks.”
The holiday weekend can also pose a threat to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Before you light off fireworks, you are encouraged to check with your neighbors to see if any of them are combat veterans. The fireworks can pose as a trigger.
To see a list of cities and counties where fireworks are either restricted or banned, click here.