WILDFIRE

18 fireworks-related wildfires over the July 4 weekend, officials report

Jul 6, 2020, 12:16 PM | Updated: 12:17 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Officials reported 68 fires over the July Fourth weekend, with 18 of them related to fireworks celebrations. That brings Utah’s total number of wildfires to 644 over the summer, with 520 determined as human-caused. 

Fireworks sparked a blaze on the Black Hill in St. George beneath Tech Ridge Saturday, fire authorities told St. George News. The city’s fireworks show started the fire, with fire crews standing by and prepared to put it out.

Fireworks set off another fire in Cedar City on the Fourth of July, burning roughly three acres and threatening several homes before it was contained. 

These fireworks fires come after the Traverse Fire near Lehi on June 28 burned over 400 acres overnight, causing roughly 42 homes to evacuate. State officials blamed the flames on fireworks — which didn’t become legal in the state until four days later. Even if they had been lit during the legal fireworks period, the area in which the fire started was a restricted one. 

Fireworks are only legal to light in Utah during the period two days before and two days after a fireworks-approved holiday, according to a law passed last year by the Utah Legislature. That includes the Fourth of July, Pioneer Day, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year. 

Even during the legal fireworks timeframe, fireworks remain restricted in some areas. The new law passed in 2019 increased the fines for lighting fireworks in restricted areas — charging anywhere from $500 to $1,000. 

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18 fireworks-related wildfires over the July 4 weekend, officials report