Farmington council alters areas where fireworks are restricted

May 16 2012 - 11:01pm

FARMINGTON -- Councilman John Bilton maintains any city policy involving the use of fireworks needs to include what he called the two E's -- education and enforcement.

Bilton lives near the mountains, where fireworks have been restricted for years because of the potential for a fire.

"I live in a restricted neighborhood that for years and years (the fireworks) have been illegal, and yet they've been shot off for years and years," Bilton said of the problem.

He suggested some of the neighbors simply haven't understood the lines. He said that a move to restrict places where fireworks can be used legally this season presents an opportunity for the fire department to reach out to the community and educate residents on the impact of fireworks. He said the city's inability to enforce fireworks regulations has also been a problem.

City leaders spent almost an hour during a city council meeting Tuesday debating demarcation lines for the use of fireworks for the upcoming July 4 and July 24 season. The council opted to eschew three proposed zones outlined by Fire Chief Guido Smith and to establish their own lines.

The parameters of that newly drawn map were not disclosed Tuesday, but will be outlined in the city's June newsletter. As part of the lines, city leaders also made the use of fireworks in Woodland Park illegal.

The leaders also opted to fund the placement of more firefighters in key zones during the fireworks season, for quicker response just in case of a blaze.

During a work session, Smith worried that a dry spring and early summer do not bode well for potential blazes during the holiday season.

"If we continue with the heat, and the humidity stays low, we could have some problems," Smith said of potential fuel loads that could be ignited by fireworks.

A fireworks expert said lines restricting where fireworks can be used seldom mean much to kids intent on using them.

"You're not going to stop the young kid who wants to shoot up a bottle rocket and do something stupid," Tyler Talbot, of TNT Fireworks, told council members.

Officials noted one of the challenges in Utah about policing fireworks comes from the extremes of two neighbors.

Fireworks are unrestricted in Wyoming and are prohibited completely in Arizona.

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