SALT LAKE CITY – Companies that make fireworks say they understand the need to be more careful about using fireworks in these very dry conditions but say that cities and towns that want to increase their restrictions now are going against state law.
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson is calling on municipalities to “review their situations” before fireworks are allowed to be used, starting July 2. She says once a town makes a plan, the info will be forwarded to the county and added to an interactive map that shows where fireworks are permitted.
This has fireworks manufacturers calling foul.
“They’re creating additional restrictions now, which is not in compliance with state law,” according to TNT Fireworks safety expert James Fuller.
He says the deadline for a municipality to set their restrictions expired in May, and he believes cities and towns had plenty of advanced notice the state was in a drought by that time. He says their retailers have already purchased their supplies for the year, and tightening the restrictions would leave those retailers with a lot of fireworks they can’t sell.
“What we have seen, also, is that many local leaders and politicians in the state are pushing consumers to say you ought not to use fireworks, and that fireworks should be illegal,” Fuller says.
Fuller agrees people need to take extra steps to ensure they’re using fireworks safely, and he believes this can happen without changing the regulations at the last minute. Their retailers will have signs and other literature to give their customers, explaining where fireworks are prohibited.
“We agree we need to be safe and very responsible when using consumer fireworks, or any fireworks, for that matter, when we’re addressing an arid climate,” he says.
Fuller also says the older, well-known fireworks safety tips are still the best. People should only use them on flat surfaces, they need to have a water source nearby and used fireworks need to be completely doused in water before they’re thrown away. Plus, they should be kept away from homes.
“We need to be even more vigilant this year about the proximity and location for which we use fireworks,” says Fuller.
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