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After fiery Fouth, West Jordan bans aerial fireworks

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WEST JORDAN — Fireworks fans in West Jordan will likely have to head elsewhere to send sparks into the sky on Pioneer Day.

The suburb is Salt Lake County's second community to put aerial fireworks off limits after rockets' red glare torched parts of buildings and roadsides on July Fourth.

The West Jordan City Council approved the ban Friday in a 4-2 vote. It extends through July 27, the last day to legally discharge fireworks in Utah this summer.

The ban was a no-brainer for Councilman Zach Jacob.

"We have dry grass everywhere," he said.

On Independence Day, 54 blazes in West Jordan sent fire crews scrambling, said Fire Chief Marc McElreath.

"They were going from call to call," McElreath said, adding it took up to 10 or 15 minutes for them to arrive.

But pyromaniacs on the western edge of Salt Lake County shouldn't lose all hope: The ban may come with an exception. McElreath is searching for a park or another place to designate a green-light zone for aerial fireworks, though it's not a guarantee.

Some city officers acknowledged the new rule will be tough to police on the state holiday that already keeps officers busy with traffic and parades.

"It is difficult, at best, to enforce fireworks," West Jordan Police Chief Doug Diamond said.

Others expressed concerns that two dozen fireworks stands in the area would have problems keeping and storing the explosives that will go unsold.

The middle of July, said Mayor Kim Rolfe, is "late in the game" to put a ban in place.

So council members directed fire officers and city attorneys to search for an area where residents could keep their tradition of setting off mortars on the holiday.


"I think it's a good compromise," McElreath said.

West Jordan is not the first town to put a stop to airborne fireworks.

Earlier this week, the Cottonwood Heights City Council voted unanimously to impose a long-term ban on aerial fireworks that lasts from Pioneer Day celebrations to December.

The Tuesday decision came after resident Dave Schoeneck’s home was damaged in a brush fire July 4 by someone setting off fireworks, Cottonwood Heights officials said. They also noted several brush fires amid what officials said was extreme fire danger due to high temperatures and shifting winds around Big and Little Cottonwood canyons.


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