OGDEN -- The Fourth of July may come and go quietly in some parts of Ogden as a result of a fireworks ban implemented Wednesday.
The restrictions put into effect by city Fire Marshal Brandon Thueson prohibit recreational and campfires as well as fireworks from July 1 to July 7 in the following locations:
* All areas east of Harrison Boulevard from the north city boundary to the south city boundary.
* All wooded areas along the Ogden River Parkway beginning at Harrison Boulevard and continuing along the pathways to the west city boundary and the south city boundary. This also includes all associated parks along the Ogden River corridor.
* All of Fort Buenaventura, the city baseball park and dog park area located off of A Avenue.
* The old landfill property at about 2550 A Ave., near Fort Buenaventura.
* All open fields, vacant lots, wooded areas, and brush covered hillsides throughout the city.
Individuals who violate the ban can be charged with a class B misdemeanor, which carries a possible $1,000 fine and six months in jail, Thueson said. The new restrictions enhance a fire ban already in place for Ogden's East Bench.
Ogden Fire Chief Mike Mathieu said his department considered instituting a complete ban of all fireworks this year and would have done it if it were legally feasible.
"These conditions are the worst I've ever seen," he said. "If there was ever a time to consider a complete ban on fireworks, this would be it. But every legal authority we've spoken to has told us it's not allowed by state statute."
The Ogden Fire Department will have additional firefighters on duty during the nights that fireworks can be legally discharged, and the department has also instituted a new policy dictating that firefighters cannot take vacation during the July Fourth holiday.
The fire department is working with Ogden police for enhanced enforcement of fireworks laws during the holidays.
According to Mathieu, there were 10 brush fires in Ogden in May and 15 so far in June, which he says is abnormally high.
One of the latest fires occurred Wednesday afternoon when a small firework was illegally launched in a park at Lincoln Elementary School and ignited some bark in a playground, causing minor damage. No one was cited in the fire.
Thueson said that incident is a good illustration of how dry conditions are right now, when a Bloom Flower firework, about the size of a AA battery, can cause a fire in a playground.
There was also a half-acre fire in Fort Buenaventura on Wednesday afternoon, which was caused by a cigarette, Ogden Fire Battalion Chief Corey Barton said.
The fire restrictions have been put into place in response to dangerous fire conditions that exist throughout Utah because of the extremely dry conditions.
"We are experiencing what we haven't seen in a long time," Thueson said, adding that Ogden fire personnel have been monitoring local temperature, wind, humidity and fuel source conditions.
Even if there is no obvious open field or dry brush nearby, Theuson pleads for residents to use common sense and make judgment calls regarding whether lighting a fire where they are is the right decision.
Standard-Examiner reporter Michael McFall contributed to this story.