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Sparklers could cause brush fires this 4th of July; firefighters urge caution

Sparklers are a popular handheld form of Independence Day entertainment, but firefighters say they also are a notorious fire risk. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City firefighters are asking people to be careful when using sparklers this 4th of July because they can injure children or start a brush fire.

Captain Adam Archuleta says sparklers can burn as hot as 1,800 degrees, which is as hot as a blow torch.

“In essence, we are lighting a blow torch and handing it to our children and asking them to run around,” Archuleta said during a safety demonstration near the University of Utah on Wednesday.

Even a recently snuffed out sparkler can still register at 350 degrees.

Archuleta says most people drop them on the ground close to plants or dry grass, which can spark a fire.

Brad Wiggins, with the University of Utah Health Burn Center, says they see a lot of hand injuries in children every year, and sometimes third-degree burns or worse.

“You are impacting your motor function of your fingers. Sometimes it leads to amputations, based on how deep that is,” Wiggins said.

People who want to use sparklers are being urged to keep an eye on their children, stay on concrete, and dunk the sparklers in a bucket of water when they are done to reduce any fire hazard.


Restrictions on Utah fireworks in 2019