Explosive: This word not only describes the blast of a lit aerial firework but also the skyrocketing profits for pyrotechnic vendors. Firework merchants across the state of Utah have predicted nearly double the sales and revenue from previous year averages and the credit goes to the newly-legalized, high-flying fireworks. “It’s like kids in a candy store,” said State Fire Marshal Brent Hallaway. “They are all wanting to go get some now because we’re allowed to do it.” Aerial fireworks were legalized when the Utah Legislature passed House Bill 22 this year. The bill also extended the firework use and sale period from seven days before the 4th of July and July 24th to a consecutive 31 day period from June 26th to July 26th. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, cited economic reasons for the major changes. With many cake fireworks ranging in price from $5 to $105, the new law helps the state retain a source of sales tax revenue, rather than losing it to Wyoming. “People like the ones that go up and make big noise and are pretty in the air,” says Orrin Schwab who manages one of three Olympus Fireworks tents in Logan. In the past two weeks Schwab has made four trips to Ogden to replenish his stocks of 200 gram and 500 gram aerial fireworks because they are in such high demand. One of the best sellers is a finale cake firework called Voo-Doo Magic, a multiple shot firework that reaches heights of 150 feet. “This company has 27 tents,” he says, “and from what I’ve heard from the other stand managers it’s been phenomenal as far as sales and demand, as opposed to previous years.” With Pioneer Day only a few days away vendors have reopened their tents in anticipation of heavy weekend sales. When aerial fireworks were first legalized the initial reaction was precautionary. “For nearly 30 years now we’ve had safe and sane fireworks. They could go 15 feet in the air and 10 feet laterally but now with the allowance of the cake fireworks, or what they call the aerial repeaters, they go anywhere from 50 to 150 feet in the air,” says State Fire Marshal Hallaway. Because the repeaters have a much greater trajectory than traditional fountain fireworks the Utah legislature added restrictions such as age and one-to-one contact with the vendor to counteract the heightened concern of fire and safety hazards. “I think a lot of skeptics have found they’re not as dangerous as they had maybe thought going in,” says Schwab. “It’s just a different breed of firework. It’s not necessarily much more dangerous and people know what they are and treat them with caution.” Fire Departments who feared the powerful aerial fireworks would increase fires this summer have been able to relax according to State Fire Marshal Hallaway. “We’ve had some fires, nothing big, related to fireworks this year,” Hallaway continued. “Right now some of our firework distributors are saying that sales right now are forecasted to completely double and so we are having literally thousands of these cakes set off and our fire factor really hasn’t increased much.” However, he advises people to be cautious if fireworks are part of their Pioneer Day celebrations. “There’s going to be a difference between the 4th of July and the 24th. It’s supposed to be 100 degrees so things are drying out now.” Fireworks restrictions are in place along Cache County’s east benches.
<a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/news/local/Fireworks-restrictions-in-place-along-East-Bench-125820778.html”>Click here to see which areas are off limits</a>