Officials announce fireworks restrictions, dates and times allowed on 4th of July

ST. GEORGE — With Independence Day just around the corner, officials are reminding people of local fireworks rules and restrictions and how to use them safely. 

Fireworks at the Piano Guys concert at Dixie Regional Medical Center, St. George, Utah, Sept. 12, 2018 | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

Utah law prohibits the use of fireworks with the exception of the days surrounding Independence Day and Pioneer Day. Fireworks are allowed to be sold and used on each holiday, as well as two days prior and one day after each holiday: July 2, 3, 4 and 5, and July 22, 23, 24 and 25. Class C explosives are allowed to be sold and purchased in Utah between June 24 and July 25.

In all Utah cities, fireworks are allowed to be discharged between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. on July 2, 3, 5, 22, 23 and 25, and from 11 a.m. to midnight on July 4 and 24. 

Municipalities may add additional restrictions, banning the use of fireworks in certain areas within city limits. Those who use fireworks in restricted areas can be charged with a maximum sentence of a class B misdemeanor, six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to Utah code

In St. George, persons who start a fire when using fireworks will be civilly liable for any damages and will be charged suppression costs for the firefighters and equipment needed, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said. 

Read more: Accidentally starting a fire with fireworks or other means can lead to steep fines, possible jail time

St. George

A map showing fireworks restrictions in St. George, Utah | Image courtesy of the St. George Police Department, St. George News | Click to enlarge

Much of the area within St. George city limits restricts the use of fireworks. The city has provided a map showing the areas where fireworks can legally be discharged on the allowed dates. Fireworks are not allowed within 200 feet of dry washes and drainage areas, rivers and stream corridors, hillsides, plateaus, mesas, undeveloped open spaces or natural terrain. 

“It’s under the recommendation of the fire chief to put these restrictions in place. … It’s mainly a preventative measure,” Stoker said. “In our city, they’re not allowed within certain distances from hillsides and washes, and those are the areas that really have a tendency to burn quickly and with intensity. Once a fire gets going in those areas it will really take off.”

Cedar City

In Cedar City, it is recommended to use fireworks only in large, open spaces to allow for fire control in the case of an accident.

The city recommends places such as the south parking lot of Cedar High School, the parking lot at the Bicentennial Softball Complex, the Iron Springs Elementary parking lot and the Canyon View Middle School parking lot.

This year, the fire danger is especially high because of the extra precipitation received in the winter and spring months. 

“It’s always a concern, but this year with the moisture that we received through the winter and through the spring it has increased the growth and the amount of fuel load that we’ve had out in the wildland areas and in town in the open areas,” Stoker said. “So we’re really concerned with the intensity of the fires along with everything drying out really quick.” 

Read more: Spring precipitation in St. George breaks 61-year-old record

The city of St. George offers some firework safety tips:

  • Only use fireworks purchased in the state of Utah from licensed dealers or retailers. Those purchased outside of the state may be illegal in Utah. 
  • Fireworks should only be used under adult supervision. 
  • Fireworks should be lighted in an open area on a noncombustible surface, like a driveway or other paved area.
  • Fireworks should not be used in windy conditions. 
  • A bucket of water should be kept nearby.
  • Soak fireworks in a bucket of water after using. 
  • Fireworks that do not go off should not be handled for at least 30 minutes, and should be picked up using a shovel to prevent injury. 

“We need to really be careful with where people are lighting those off and how they’re handling them,” Stoker said. “We want them to still enjoy fireworks but do it in a safe manner and just make sure they’re watching where they’re lighting those off.” 

Email: mshoup@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @MikaylaShoup

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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