Grass fires prompt firework concerns

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DRAPER, Utah (ABC4 News) – Two grass fires were quickly put out by the Draper and West Jordan firefighters. Both of them were about an acre in size once contained around 1:00 a.m. Tuesday.

Investigators say the West Jordan grass fire started around 9200 South and Bacchus Highway near the roadway. That fire is still under investigation.

The Draper grass fire occurred in a restricted fireworks area between the Frontrunner and the Jordan Parkway Trail near 132nd south.

“This is in an area of the city that is restricted to fireworks. It has been for many years and this would be one of the good reasons why,” says Draper City Fire Chief Clint Smith. “Had conditions been just a little bit different last night, we could have had some potential threats in a very big hurry with some strong south winds that could have pushed it in that direction.”

Early reports that came into the department indicated teens were seen setting off the fireworks.

“So they were modifying them and it looks-appeared that they were trying to shoot them outside of the silo as well, so again trying to be creative as juveniles will do,” the Chief says. “That is where things become very dangerous.”

If firefighters didn’t put the fire out quickly Chief Smith says it could have threatened nearby apartments and buildings.

“We just don’t feel like it is a risk that we are going to take lightly, nor should anybody else, and that we will impose those fines as we see fit to help send that message,” he says.

Law enforcement officials say those fines in firework restricted areas can cost thousands, including jail time up to six months, and misdemeanor charges.

“We want parents to recognize that when they go and purchase these fireworks they need to be able to have those conversations with their kids to teach them the right way to enjoy the holidays, the areas they should be lighting them, and how to properly do it,” says Chief Smith.

Or you can leave it up to the pro’s and see a firework show.

“They are trained, they have all the safety precautions in place, that is the safest way to enjoy this time of year and the holidays, is to go and enjoy one of those professional fireworks shows, and let somebody else do all the hard work for them,” he adds.

Under Utah State Law, fireworks can be used from June 2nd-5th for the 4th of July and from 22nd-25th for Pioneer Day.

Firefighters say if the vegetation continues to dry out, the 4th of July will be a clear indication of what to expect when it comes to this years fire danger.

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