Fire Safety Big Concern for July Fourth

Fire Safety Big Concern for July Fourth

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John Daley ReportingFireworks are on sale in Utah this July 1st in advance of Independence Day. But with hot, windy conditions and Utah’s drought now in its fifth year, fire safety is a top concern.

We are seeing many firework stands going up this week selling legal fireworks, unlike the more dangerous varieties you can find over the border in Evanston, Wyoming. At some Utah fireworks stands flyers are available telling those buying fireworks to "celebrate safely."

Wildfire and fireworks go hand in hand for many people. With the Fourth of July coming in three days, stands find many customers arrive looking for fireworks and armed with questions about fire safety.

Ben Baker, TNT Fireworks: "We get a lot of questions on fires and what fire restrictions are. We've got some pamphlets over here at the register that talks about fireworks safety."

Like a warning label on a pack of cigarettes, packages of fireworks also come with a message of caution. Firefighters too are looking to prevent fires. They say all it takes is a bottle rocket fired in the wrong direction or tossed casually into a dry field, and within minutes fire crews could be scrambling to extinguish it.

Salt Lake Fire Department's Scott Freitag says fireworks with a fuse on the bottom are always illegal in Utah; a fuse on the top means it is most likely legal unless it can explode. Some of the most popular fireworks are banned in Utah because they can easily light a fire.

Scott Freitag, Salt Lake Fire Dept.: "Bottle rockets or any type of rocket like this are absolutely illegal. Doesn't matter how big or how little the stick; it's illegal in Utah. Same with roman candles."

That message is not lost on many vendors where you can't get roman candles or bottle rockets. They say they want people to have fun and be safe.

Ben Baker, TNT Fireworks: "And we say of course, keep away from open fields and dry grasses and trees and that kind of stuff."

Also starting today there's one very good source of information about fire and fire safety. A new web site has been set up that has the latest details on fires around the states and has plenty of other fire safety tips.

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