Due to extreme fire danger, St. George fire chief signs order prohibiting fireworks in certain areas

Fireworks at the City of St. George and KONY "4th of July Celebration," St. George, Utah | File photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — If you’ve already hit your neighborhood fireworks stand to prepare for this year’s Pioneer Day festivities, you may want to hold off before lighting any pyrotechnics. St. George fire officials have implemented a few additional restrictions and recommendations to ensure a safe celebration.

Fireworks at the City of St. George and KONY “4th of July Celebration,” St. George, Utah | File photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

Due to extreme fire danger that exists in the southwestern part of Utah this year, St. George Chief Robert Stoker has signed an order prohibiting fireworks in certain parts of the city.

Fireworks of any kind are not to be used within 200 feet of the following locations in town:

  • Dry washes and drainages.
  • River and stream corridors.
  • Hillsides, plateaus and mesa tops.
  • Undeveloped open space or natural terrain.

Stoker told St. George News that areas prone to fires like dry washes and hillsides are particular areas of concern. Fires can spread rapidly with a prime fuel source, and in places that are difficult to access, the flames can be challenging to extinguish.

“It takes a lot of time and manpower to get into those fires,” he said. 

The use of fireworks is completely prohibited north of Snow Canyon Parkway on state Route 18, including in The Ledges housing development.

Outside of city limits, the state of Utah, Bureau of Land Management, National Forest Service and many other state and federal agencies have restricted use of fireworks in all unincorporated areas of the state.

Besides the above locations and other restricted areas this year, prohibited activities include firecrackers, cherry bombs, roman candles, bottle rockets, single or reloadable mortars and other class C fireworks not approved by the state of Utah. In addition to fireworks, all recreational fires are off-limits, along with welding, cutting or grinding in listed areas, unless approved by the fire department in advance. Sky lanterns are entirely prohibited.

The abundance of dry fuels and hot temperatures make conditions perfect for a fire to start, Stoker said. Just during lunch today, the Fire Department responded to a scene by Interstate 15’s Exit 5 where a billboard sign had an electrical problem and sparked a fire below.

“This high temperature just affects everything so much,” he explained.

Utah code states that anyone found guilty of using fireworks in restricted areas can be charged with a class B misdemeanor with up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

“We just ask that everyone please take a look at those fire restrictions,” Stoker said, noting that several individuals were cited over the July 4th holiday who were either discharging illegal fireworks or discharging legal fireworks in a restricted area.

Fireworks are allowed to be sold and used in all Utah cities on Pioneer Day, July 24, until midnight, as well as July 22-23 and July 25 from 11 a.m to 11 p.m. Retailers will have maps available for customers to view guidelines. The city of St. George also offers an interactive map showing restrictions.

“The lighting of fireworks on holidays have become a tradition with many families. If families act responsibly with legal fireworks activities, they should have an enjoyable holiday,” the city’s website states. “The majority of fire incidents that occur are a result of illegal or improper fireworks discharges.”

Fireworks 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.

“We just really want people to enjoy their fireworks but just do them safe,” Stoker said.

He said they are happy to help anyone that has any questions and he encourages them to call their local fire department.

For more information about permits or fireworks restrictions, contact the St. George Fire Department at 435-627-4150. To report the discharge of fireworks in restricted areas, call the non-emergency dispatch number at 435-627-4300. For emergencies, call 911.

Email: apinckney@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews 

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

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