SALT LAKE COUNTY – Fireworks perfectly acceptable today could lead to a $1,000 fine tomorrow. Salt Lake County officials say residents need to constantly check the county’s interactive fire restrictions map because conditions could change every day.
Each city has the ability to create the restrictions they deem necessary. Salt Lake County Emergency Management maintains an interactive map that shows where the current restrictions are. However, an area that’s not prohibited today could become prohibited tomorrow. Unified Fire Authority Chief Dan Petersen says people may believe they’re doing their due diligence by looking up the restrictions well in advance, but, they’re not. Hypothetically speaking, something permitted on the 4th could be outlawed by the 24th.
Petersen says, hypothetically, “We might say we can’t do it on the third, and we get a big rainstorm on the fourth, then the fifth becomes fine.”
He says urban interface areas and waterways are traditionally at risk for fires in the summer, and, cities are able to place more restrictions on area where they’ve seen problems in the past.
“Two of the last five years, conditions have to have been such to make that ‘historical’ evaluation work,” Petersen says.
However, these conditions could change at a moment’s notice. Salt Lake County mayor Ben McAdams says each city will be monitoring their weather forecasts to see if they need to increase restrictions.
“If it gets windy and we see the wind is blowing in a particular way and it may push fireworks into an area that could cayuse a wildfire, those conditions may change,” McAdams says.
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