MIDVALE, Utah (ABC4 News) – The current mix of red flag warnings, triple-digit temperatures, and winds make the perfect weather combination for a small spark to turn into a big disaster. Because of that, Unified Fire Authority is urging Utahns to take extra precautions when lighting fireworks for the Pioneer Day holiday.
“Can you show us the proper way to light fireworks?” ABC4’s Brittany Johnson asked Ryan Love, PIO, Unified Fire Authority.
“Easy enough, let’s do it!” Love responded.
Love says before lighting up, fill a five-gallon bucket with water and set it to the side.
When that’s done, grab a few bricks to place around your fireworks.
“We always suggest masonry bricks. This way we can secure the fireworks in place. Say if it’s a windy night and we have some ground fountains that are blowing over, that’s the last thing we want right? Is for sparks or anything combusting near some grass or trees like that,” explained Love.
Then read the instruction labels on the fireworks.
“Every firework discharges differently so you want to make sure that you read every label. Some of the fuses stick out of the top and some of them stick out on the side,” Love said.
Another precaution is to make sure you’re wearing eye protection.
“Sunglasses will do but typically we light fireworks at night time so clear glasses are better,” he said.
Unified Fire also recommends using a long-stemmed lighter to set off fireworks.
“The reason why we suggest one of these over a conventional small lighter is for the fact of that extension right here,” Love said during a demonstration. “The farther you can get away from the ignition point the better.”
Lastly, make sure spectators are a safe distance away.
“We want to make sure everyone is at least 30 feet away because some of these can project quite far,” Love said, referring to the firework he was about to set off. “We want to make sure we don’t have any children in the middle of the fireworks as they’re being lit off as well.”
After you’ve followed all of these safety precautions, it’s showtime.
Following the fireworks extravaganza, it’s time to properly dispose of the fireworks. Love says when you’re done, grab a glove when cleaning things up.
“We recommend just a leather glove or just anything that can protect the skin. The last thing we want is for you to pick up a firework that has recently discharged and burn yourself.”
The bucket of water you filled up in the beginning, comes in handy at this point in the process. It’s the safest way to extinguish the fireworks. Love says to soak them in the water for a full 24 hours after they’ve been lit.
“A lot of times people throw the fireworks into the trash can or dumpster premature.”
“Most people park their dumpster right next a structure or near their house. So a lot of times those dumpster fires turn into house fires.”
Fireworks can be legally discharged from now until July 25.
With these extreme fire conditions, there are places throughout the state where fireworks are restricted. UFA has an interactive map with information on prohibited areas. You can find out if you’re in a restricted area by clicking here.
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