Fire restrictions possible

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    By Emily Kunkel

    Some students” spirits were dampened last summer when authorities banned all fires in the canyons and placed heavier restrictions on fireworks.

    Because of fire hazards this summer, local authorities may have to repeat last summer”s restrictions.

    “Right now, only the normal restrictions are in place,” said Mary Steinaker of the Uinta Forest Service. “But because of fire danger, last summer”s restrictions could go into effect any time.”

    The additional restrictions banned all fires and only allowed Coleman Stoves or other similar cooking apparatuses, Steinaker said.

    To inform Utah residents about additional restrictions, Steinaker said, the forest service put up signs in the campgrounds and advertised on the radio and television.

    “We get a lot of people who call in just to ask us about the restrictions,” Steinaker said.

    Utah”s fire code says any open burning is illegal unless it is a small campfire in an approved pit meant for cooking purposes and is at least 25 feet from any house, said Bret Larsen, an inspector for the Orem Fire Department.

    Fireworks have never been allowed in the canyons and are only allowed in areas designated by the state, Larsen said.

    Larsen said fireworks are only allowed at certain times of the year: New Year”s Day, the Fourth of July, July 24 and the Chinese New Year.

    Fireworks can be sold two weeks before the holidays and used three days before and after the actual holiday, Larsen said.

    “Patrols have a zero-tolerance policy against illegal fireworks,” said Provo Fire Marshal Jim Guynn.

    Guynn said a form of fireworks is illegal if it moves laterally more than six feet, and if the device itself leaves the ground, or if fire property is more than six feet.

    If a person is caught with illegal fireworks, they will be arrested and fined $200 to $300, Guynn said.

    Guynn also said if firework stands sell fireworks to anyone under 16, the stand will be closed.

    “If kids using fireworks are unsupervised, we cite the parents,” Guynn said. “Fireworks are a symbol of freedom, and they are an American tradition. We just want people to be safe with them.”

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