New legislation regulates fireworks

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New firework regulations will come into effect before the upcoming firework season.

The use of fireworks has been reduced from seven to four days around the July 4 and July 24 holidays. Legal firework usage will begin two days prior to the holiday and will continue until the day following the holiday.

Additionally, setting off fireworks is limited to the hours between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., except the for July 4 and 24, when the hours are extended to midnight.

According to the 2018 updates enacted by the Utah Legislature, the penalties for those who violate firework discharge regulations will increase.

“An individual who negligently, recklessly or intentionally causes or spreads a fire through discharge of a class C explosive is liable for the cost of suppressing that fire and any damages the fire causes.”

State officials believe residents will be more conscious of their firework usage because of stricter regulations and penalties.

“Despite our best efforts, we still have an enormous amount of people that aren’t safe with fireworks. How do we get people’s attention to ensure they are following what we ask them to do?” asks State Fire Marshal Coy Porter.

Many communities and cities will post a map of the restricted areas or permitted parks for using fireworks.

“We allow people to shoot fireworks off at specific locations, which are city parks. We give people a good variety of safe places they can light them off,” said Kevin Paxton, a fire marshal with the third Provo Fire Station.

Some Provo parks that allow lighting off fireworks are Sertoma, Exchange, Fort Utah, Footprinter, Provost and Kiwanis.

In addition to the illegal locations marked on Provo’s “Firework Discharge Restricted Area” map, fireworks are not to be used anywhere on BYU campus.

“We have hot dry summers. This one is probably going to be another bad one. We still, unfortunately, have people that put others in danger by not acting responsibly,” Porter said.

These restriction maps are published with the hope of decreasing the number of injuries and fires caused by firework usage, especially in the hot summer months.

“We never go a season without a brush fire or something that is caused because of fireworks. But Provo City does pretty good about keeping it to a minimum,” Paxton said.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost 18,500 of fires reported annually are caused by fireworks.

Despite the potential danger, fireworks continue to play a large role in many people’s Fourth of July and Pioneer Day celebrations.

“Am I going to watch fireworks and enjoy them and be somewhere where my family sets them off? Yeah, I’m going to. We’re just going to do it in the right places and as safe as we can,” Paxton said.

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