Fire Chief urges residents to use fireworks safely, legally this month

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Provo residents should be especially careful when using fireworks during July 24 celebrations, according to Provo City Fire Chief James Miguel.

“Anytime that the humidity is low and the temperatures are high we have a greater fire danger,” he said. 

Miguel suggested several precautions firework users can take to prevent fires and injury, the first being to launch fireworks in appropriate locations.

“You need to make sure that you are a minimum of 30 feet away from anything that could be flammable, like weeds,” Miguel said. With the dry conditions this summer, this tip is especially important to prevent fires.

Miguel also said launching fireworks from a stable surface, such as the street or sidewalk, can prevent injuries. “(Fireworks) can tend to fall over or move around and cause burns,” Miguel said.

Miguel suggested keeping a 50 gallon water bucket or a garden hose nearby provides a way to quickly extinguish flames if necessary.

Additionally, he said properly disposing of spent fireworks is critical and many holiday fires begin when fireworks in garbage cans catch fire.

“Never, never put your fireworks in your garbage can until they have either been soaked in water or kept out in the gutter overnight,” Miguel said. “Don’t ever assume that because they’re spent that they’re not still hot inside or that the paper is not still on fire.”

Miguel also urged Provo residents to be aware of the laws surrounding firework use.

Provo residents may not light fireworks anywhere in Provo City’s Discharge Restricted Area, on the BYU campus or on any Bureau of Land Management lands in Utah County.

Miguel urged residents to familiarize themselves with the Discharge Restricted Area, which runs along the Wasatch Front. “People who are going to shoot fireworks need to be aware of where the (restriction) line is to the east,” he said. Miguel said the Restricted Area is a higher-risk area because it is a hillside area of homes sitting on grass and debris.

“There’s so much dry debris in (that area) and a fire that starts there is going to run up the hill,” Miguel said.

Residents living in the Discharge Restricted Area are invited to launch fireworks at Provost Park, Kiwanis Park, Sertoma Park, Exchange Park, Fort Utah Park or Footprinter Park.

Fireworks can legally be discharged from July 1-July 7 and July 21-July 27 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. On July 4 and July 24, fireworks can be discharged until midnight.

Discharging fireworks at any other time or in the designated Discharge Restricted Area will be prosecuted as a Class B Misdemeanor.  

For more tips on firework safety, visit the National Council on Firework Safety.

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