Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, along with Salt Lake City Fire Department Chief Karl Lieb, today announced a ban on the use of personal fireworks citywide in response to extreme drought conditions and fire danger in the City.
“Our foothills, open spaces, and even our yards and park strips are dry and could be ignited by a single spark, threatening life, safety, and property,” Mendenhall said. “These conditions present a very real, immediate threat of fire. We have seen communities in neighboring western states be leveled by urban wildfires in recent years, and we cannot take unnecessary risks that may put us in the same position.”
“This is a hazard that we have some control over. It is a hazard that is completely within our ability to mitigate, which is why we feel a ban on all fireworks and novelties is appropriate and necessary,” Chief Lieb said.
The citywide ban is by order of the City’s fire marshal, who is delegated the authority to make emergency decisions like these during dangerous fire conditions.
“I have full confidence in the assessment of fire danger made by Battalion Chief Allred and Chief Lieb this year. There has never been a greater concern by these experts about the threat of fire to Salt Lake City. We take their recommendation seriously and know this order is not made lightly, but done with the health and safety of City’s residents, businesses and firefighters in mind,” Mendenhall added.
The ban includes:
- Class C fireworks, also known as Common fireworks, and Novelty fireworks – these are fireworks most commonly sold at neighborhood fireworks stands, and includes smoke bombs and sparklers.
- Open burning, to include recreational fires – this is any fire built for things like cooking or warming.
The bans will be in place until further notice.
Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities Executive Director Laura Briefer joined the Mayor and Chief to provide an update on drought conditions in the City and watershed fire danger. While wildfires can have negative impacts on air quality and property, they can also affect the quantity and quality of water available, and water supplies can be adversely affected during the active burning of a wildfire and for years afterwards.
“Weeks of scorching temperatures have only added more urgency to our call for deliberate and thoughtful water conservation, both indoors and out,” said Briefer. “We are also working actively with our numerous partners in the public and private sectors to promote fire prevention in the nearby canyons. These canyon watersheds supply water to more than 360,000 people in the Salt Lake City service area. Catastrophic wildfire could be devastating not only to the land, but could have serious impacts on our water supply and safety.”
City residents are encouraged to participate in one of the public fireworks shows taking place for the July holidays, with fireworks at Jordan Park on the Fourth of July and at Liberty Park on the 24th of July.
For more information on the City’s drought conditions and fire safety please visit https://www.slc.gov/mayor/drought/