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SLC bans fireworks within city limits until further notice

SALT LAKE CITY — At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, citing ongoing severe drought conditions in Salt Lake City, banned the use of fireworks within the city limits until further notice.

The ban covers what are called “class C” fireworks, or, the type that are typically sold at fireworks stands.

“Our foothills, open spaces, and even our yards and park strips are dry and could be ignited by a single spark, threatening life, safety, and property,” Mendenhall said. “These conditions present a very real, immediate threat of fire. We have seen communities in neighboring western states be leveled by urban wildfires in recent years, and we cannot take unnecessary risks that may put us in the same position.”

A Salt Lake City Fire Department engine parked next to the Salt Lake City and Council Building. In the distance, fire officials describe the ban on fireworks. Photo: Paul Nelson

Fireworks manufacturers have pushed back on cities changing their fireworks restrictions at this point of the year.  They tell KSL the deadline to make restrictions expired in May.  However, Mendenhall said there is another way in which cities can increase restrictions in extreme circumstances.  She said state law allows city councils to make changes when they see fit.

She said, “In Salt Lake City, that determination has been delegated, years ago, from the city council to the fire marshal.”

The ban was reportedly ordered under the guidance of their fire department.

“There has never been a greater concern by these experts about the threat of fire to Salt Lake City,” Mendenhall said.  “We take their recommendation seriously, we know it’s not made lightly, but it’s done with the health and safety of residents, businesses and our firefighters in mind.

“This is a hazard that we have some control over. It is a hazard that is completely within our ability to mitigate, which is why we feel a ban on all fireworks and novelties is appropriate and necessary,” Salt Lake City Fire Chief Carl Lieb said.

The ban includes:

  • Class C fireworks, also known as Common fireworks, and Novelty fireworks – these are fireworks most commonly sold at neighborhood fireworks stands, and includes smoke bombs and sparklers.
  • Open burning, to include recreational fires – this is any fire built for things like cooking or warming. 

The bans will be in place until further notice. 

For more information on the City’s drought conditions and fire safety please visit https://www.slc.gov/mayor/drought/