Fire officials preparing for new fireworks

Utah’s new fireworks laws are in effect and state health officials want to ensure they don’t result in more injuries. Utah Department of Health numbers indicate 512 emergency room visits statewide between 1999 and 2009 for injuries due to fireworks. The majority were to children ages 5 to 14. “There have been changes in the laws and what is allowed in Utah,” said Logan Fire Marshall Craig Humphreys. “The most significant is allowing the sales and use of aerial type fireworks. These are multi-shot type fireworks that have a significant impact. They can go up to 150 feet into the air. They are consumer type fireworks with a lot of power and force.” He said the new rules call for a 30-foot clearance around and a 150-foot clearance above those fireworks when they are being used. An adjusted season has been created in Utah allowing for purchase and use of legal fireworks for a full month. “As of June 26 it is legal to buy and use fireworks in Utah all the way through to July 26,” said Humphreys. As before, children under 16 are not allowed to handle or light fireworks. “That hasn’t been heavily enforced but with these new aerial fireworks we really want to stress that part of the law. They are much more dangerous and powerful and even those 16 years old should be under adult supervision.” Humphreys said within the law it is possible to restrict fireworks use in certain areas of the city. “That is especially true in what we call the wild land-urban interface where the population meets the mountains. It can sometimes be a high critical area, especially when conditions are very dry. “With the Fourth of July coming up we don’t expect any restrictions, it’s been a very wet year. If it turns hot and things begin to dry out quickly, we will re-evaluate that as we approach the July 24 holiday. There may be the need for restrictions, as was the case during the July 24 holiday.”

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