HURRICANE — In a special meeting of the Hurricane City Council called Wednesday, Mayor John Bramall announced an emergency resolution that prohibits the use of fireworks on all private and public lands within Hurricane City.
As previously reported in St. George News, the council had already passed restrictions on fireworks usage that limited where and when citizens could set off fireworks that celebrate July holidays.
The resolution passed Wednesday goes a step further and outright prohibits fireworks usage within city limits.
“Careful is the order of the day, and careful in this case means no fireworks,” Hurricane Valley Fire District Deputy Chief Kevin Gildea told St. George News after the meeting.
“It’s just an unusually dry year, following several other unusually dry years,” Gildea added. “So the fuels are extremely dry, extremely ready to burn. They’re easier to ignite than ever, and when they burn, they burn more vigorously than they have in the past due to low moisture content.”
According to Mayor John Bramall, the severe drought and resulting strain on water resources were primary causes of the resolution, along with the obligation to protect city citizens and property.
“Extreme situations call for extreme reactions,” Bramall said. “We’re in an extreme drought, we’re worried about spending water that’s precious on fires. We’re also worried about losing houses.”
Much of the discussion in the special meeting centered around the need to protect the city versus a strong desire by the council not to take away personal freedoms.
Council member Nanette Billings, who cast the lone vote against the resolution, agreed that the need is dire but said citizens are responsible enough to make their own decisions.
“I believe when you give people correct information and let them govern themselves, they make good choices,” Billings said in a text to St. George News. “The same number of citizens will break the law regardless of the ban.”
Gildea agreed to an extent.
“We hate to infringe upon people’s rights. We know people like to celebrate, we’re all supportive of that,” Gildea said. “But this year it’s just not a good idea.”
Bramall and other council members agreed with Billings that they did not like the idea of limiting freedoms, but the special circumstances of the extreme drought year made the resolution necessary. Further, the city will go ahead with its Independence Day celebration.
“I love our liberties and I love America. I love our freedom and I love setting off fireworks,” Bramall said. “We’re going to spend a lot on ones done by professionals here out in Sand Hollow and I hope everyone comes out to enjoy them with us.”
The Sand Hollow fireworks show is set for July 3 at 10 p.m. Entrance to the park starts at 7 p.m. and admittance is free.
Hurricane City Police Chief Lynn Excell told the council that the police department stands ready to enforce the resolution. According to its wording, the resolution states that violations are punishable as a class B misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $1,000 for each separate violation, a jail sentence of up to six months, restitution or any combination thereof.
Council members Dave Sanders, Kevin Tervort and Darin Larson voted for the resolution. Billings voted against and council member Joseph Prete was absent from the special meeting, so the final tally was 3-1 for passage. The resolution takes effect immediately.
“As soon as the state fire marshal lifts the ban, we will too,” Bramall said.
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