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Fire chiefs call on everyone to skip personal fireworks this year

SALT LAKE COUNTY – Even if fireworks are legal where you live, fire chiefs in the Salt Lake Valley are asking you to skip fireworks because of extreme fire risk. Nearly a dozen agencies from all over Salt Lake County came together in a YouTube video, urging everyone to skip using personal fireworks this year.

Officials from Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, Murray, West Valley, and Sandy were among the fire chiefs making their appearance in the two-minute video. They say their resources are already stretched thin during the summer months, so any additional fires would cause tremendous strain on their departments.

“If you can, avoid fireworks so that we’re not stretched so thin that we can’t respond to all the other emergencies we face every day,” says Unified Fire Authority Chief Dan Petersen.

They say conditions are so dry, even in large cities, lawns trees and bushes are ripe for fires. They say conditions are much drier than in previous years, and last year was a very bad one.

West Jordan Fire Chief Derek Maxfield says, “Last year alone, agencies in the Salt Lake Valley to over 667 fireworks-related calls. For each call that comes in related to fireworks, there are less crews available to respond in medical emergencies.”

The chiefs warn everyone that restrictions will be heavily enforced, with fines reaching $1,000 for people caught lighting fireworks in restricted areas.

Draper City Fire Chief Clint Smith says, “Anyone that lights off fireworks that result in a fire will be held personally responsible for the cost of fighting those fires and for any damages that occur.”

They also say people should remember 911 should only be called for fires and injuries.

“Please don’t call 911 to report illegal fireworks.  Use our non-emergency numbers, instead,” says Bluffdale City Fire Chief Warren James

The emergency numbers are 801-799-3000 for Salt Lake City and Sandy, or 801-840-4000 for the rest of the valley.


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