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Governor Asks for Statewide Ban on Personal Fireworks

Governor Asks for Statewide Ban on Personal Fireworks

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingUtah's Governor wants a statewide ban on personal fireworks during the remainder of the fire season. If cities comply, that would mean no fireworks, illegal or legal, in the days surrounding the 24th of July.

Some say it wasn't patriotic to have no fireworks; others said it was important to place safety first. This ban is not in place yet. The governor has asked for it, though it will be up to individual cities to comply.

It's a tradition for many Utahns on the 24th of July to light off fireworks, but this patriotic celebration could be put on hold this year, after the Governor signed an emergency declaration today, asking cities to ban personal fireworks because of fire dangers.

Sandy Fire Chief Don Chase said, "I would love to ban fireworks. It wouldn't be popular, but I would love to ban fireworks."

The chief of the Sandy Fire department says it would be up to the city council to ban personal fireworks in Sandy; but if the council considers it, he's behind it, because he's seen the damage fireworks can cause.

Chief Chase said, "I don't think people realize how quickly it moves, and I don't think they realize the danger that's involved with using them."

On July 2nd, kids playing with fireworks in Sandy started a grass fire that got very close to homes. Late on the 3rd, someone started a fire about 60 acres above the foothills in Sandy. Firefighters say they're still investigating if that blaze was caused by fireworks.

We asked people tonight what they thought of a potential fireworks ban. We got mixed reactions.

Lance Wardle said, "I think it's a good idea. It's too dry and way too hot."

Michelle Smith says, "As far as I'm concerned, if you can save a few houses, maybe some lives, then it's fine."

Danielle Thomson says, "It would be sad. The whole meaning of it would kind of be gone."

We do want to clarify, city firework celebrations would still be allowed.

There's one more twist to this story; the Sandy Fire Chief told us cities can't actually outlaw fireworks unless the state Fire Prevention Board rules it's necessary because of drought or emergency. We weren't able to find out tonight if that has happened.

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