Farmington warns residents about high fire danger

Jun 4 2012 - 7:22pm

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FARMINGTON -- As Independence Day and Pioneer Day near, the Farmington Fire Department is taking a proactive approach to keeping the city and its residents safe during fireworks season.

Fire Chief Guido Smith said that because 2012 has been very dry and temperatures in recent weeks have been hotter than normal, fire safety this year is extremely important.

As part of its safety action, the city council recently approved a new fireworks restriction area in the city. Fireworks are restricted in Farmington in areas east of North Compton Road, 100 East, 200 East and 350 East, as well as in Woodland Park.

"It's always good for people to be safe and be educated about fireworks safety," Smith said. "But with how hot and dry it's been so far, and with our new restrictions, people probably need a refresher."

Kathy Jo Pollock, spokeswoman with the U.S. Forest Service, agreed with Smith's assessment of this year's fire danger, saying that in lower mountain elevations fire danger is listed as high to extreme.

"As you get into the higher elevations, it's probably more moderate," she said. "But if we continue to have these hotter temperatures and dry winds, the higher elevations will be very dangerous, too."

Smith and other members of the Farmington Fire Department are spending the month of June hitting the streets and going door to door to talk to residents on the city's East Bench.

The crews will be visiting East Bench residents Monday through Saturday, mostly in the afternoons.

Smith said when all is said and done, the department will hit about 1,000 homes in the city.

"We're trying to be a little bit more proactive than reactive," Smith said. "It's always easier to prevent a fire than it is to put it out."

In Utah, fireworks are allowed three days before and three days after July 4 and July 24, as well as on those holidays.

Smith said that during those 14 days -- seven for July 4 and seven for July 24 -- the part-time fire department will increase its staff from two firefighters on duty to six.

Smith said the new restrictions will be aggressively enforced and violators are subject to maximum fines under the law.

"We're taking it serious," he said. "We've got nothing against fireworks, but with the conditions this year, and with a city like Farmington that has so many homes close to the mountains, people need to enjoy them responsibly."

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