Fireworks were ignited in a restricted area in Provo on Monday night causing a ½ acre brushfire that came within 150 feet of a house. The fireworks were ignited outside of Utah’s permitted season to discharge fireworks and in an area where fireworks are prohibited.
The individual who ignited the fireworks could face two class B misdemeanor charges carrying fines up to $1,000 per charge in addition to $2420 to cover the costs to extinguish the fire.
Utah is familiar with illegal fireworks causing fires. In 2018, fireworks ignited in Lehi caused a fire that threatened nearly 20 homes. In 2020, three teenagers set off fireworks that turned into a 12,000 acre wildfire.
Provo Fire & Rescue released a statement urging residents to use caution and to follow the rules when lighting fireworks.
“This incident highlights the conditions that fire officials, community leaders, and a lot of community members fear as we approach the Fourth of July holiday,” Fire Marshal Lynn Schofield said in the statement.
Provo City recommends residents should only go to approved parks to set off fireworks. Residents can also only set off fireworks during designated dates in July. The approved dates span over the Fourth of July (July 2-5) and Pioneer Day (July 22-25).
The Provo Fire & Rescue team’s recommendations come as other Utah leaders express concern about the danger of fire while a majority of the state is in an “extreme drought”.
On June 8, Gov. Spencer Cox announced that fireworks were banned on all state and unincorporated private lands.
During his monthly news conference Gov. Cox announced that he personally would not be enacting a firework ban, but he urged the Utah Legislature to do so. He also urged local governments to put restrictions in place.
Provo Fire & Rescue Fire Marshal Lynn Schofield said neither he nor his team can legally ban the use of fireworks, but he urges citizens to be responsible.
“We just have to provide as many safe alternatives as we can, and count on our citizens to be responsible — and do the right thing,” Schofield said.