ST. GEORGE – Citing another year of dangerously dry conditions due to ongoing drought, city officials unanimously passed fireworks restrictions for the majority of July in a City Council meeting last week.
Since 2012 the city has enacted the same ordinance restricting fireworks in certain parts of the city, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said.
“We’ve had good success with this,” Stoker said, noting that fires triggered by fireworks have declined in recent years as more people take the fireworks restrictions seriously.
In effect July 1-27, the ordinance is not a blanket restriction on fireworks, but rather limits the areas where fireworks can be used within city limits.
In general, no fireworks are to be used within 250 feet of:
- Dry washes and drainages
- River and stream corridors
- Hillsides, plateaus and mesa tops
- Undeveloped open space or natural terrain
To help city residents know exactly where they can safely use fireworks, the city has posted a map on its website detailing safe and restricted locations. A list of safety tips is also listed on the website. Those tips have are included at the end of this article.
“The map does work online very well,” Mayor Jon Pike said. “I appreciate the safety it is designed for, we do need to be careful.”
In addition to the restrictions, Stoker said, the Fire Department also inspects fireworks vendors for potentially illegal wares. One vendor was caught last year and subsequently shutdown.
“We take it pretty serious,” Stoker said.
General fireworks sales have been down for vendors the last few years because people are nervous about starting fires, Stoker said.
Noting the potential hazard of fireworks if misused, the fire chief related a recent call firefighters responded to in the Stone Cliff community in May. In that instance, a trio of juveniles with fireworks started a small brush fire in a ravine by the community. The fire was put out in short order and the teens involved were cited by police.
“Sometimes, I think, sometimes people forget we live in a desert,” Councilwoman Bette Arial said.
While city residents will be able to use fireworks in designated areas, the City of St. George will also once again be hosting its own fireworks show for Independence Day.
Anyone with questions about fireworks can contact the St. George Fire Department as 435-627-4150.
The following are fireworks safety tips listed on the City of St. George website.
- Use only fireworks purchased in the State of Utah from licensed dealers or retailers; if you purchased the fireworks out of state, they are more than likely not legal in this state, you will be cited if caught, and will be responsible to pay for any damages and extinguishment costs as a result of any fires that you cause.
- Use only with responsible adult supervision at all times
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks
- Light the fireworks in an open area and on a non-combustible surface such as a driveway or paved area
- If windy conditions exist do not light fireworks
- Keep a bucket of water available
- Handle used and “dud” fireworks with a shovel
- Soak fireworks thoroughly in a bucket of water or hose prior to disposal
- Keep clear while lighting fireworks do not lean over them at any time
- Do not relight “dud” fireworks
- Watch out for your pets and animals. Preferably keep them indoors and away from the displays
- Check for any restrictions that may apply to your area
- 3 kids playing with fireworks cited for brush fire; STGnews Videocast, Photo Gallery
- Pyrotechnic panic: Fireworks blamed for 23 dogs ending up in shelter; tips
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