OGDEN — This year has been “absolutely horrid” for sales of fireworks to celebrate the 4th and 24th of July, and fire marshals everywhere in this state couldn’t be happier.
“What you’re seeing here is, most of your people have come to their senses and decided, ‘We can go one year without,’ ” Weber District Fire Marshal Ted Black said when asked about fireworks booths that are closed, not selling anything.
He said area residents seem to have realized that “it’s not worth risking my house or my neighbor’s house to see some pretty lights in the sky.”
Black said fire danger from fireworks, or any other cause, remains extreme despite recent rains and cooler temperatures.
“We’re having a lot of people commenting about the rain we got, and the problem with that is, dead grass is dead grass,” Black said.
“The undergrowth that died because of the heat … we are not going to bring any of that back. You’ve just got a situation that is not going to go away easily.”
Fire marshals might be happy, but not Taylor Talbot, owner of American Promotional Events, the distributor of most of the fireworks sold in Top of Utah.
“If you would inform those fire marshals
that there haven’t been any fires because of fireworks, that would be great,” he said. “Because fireworks are getting the rap.”
Talbot said fireworks sales for the 24th of July are typically a third of what he sells over the Fourth of July, but sales all month have been “the worst I’ve ever seen in 11 years. Absolutely horrid.”
State law allows sales of fireworks continuously from June 23 to July 27, although the fireworks can only be fired for three days before and after each holiday, plus the holiday itself.
Most booths will be closed until this weekend, Taylor said, because they are operated by independent groups selling fireworks for fundraising. The operators typically can’t get workers on hand during slow times or daytime hours.
This year, however, fireworks sellers have had to fight a continuous drumbeat of warnings and restrictions. Firefighters and government officials keep warning that hot, dry weather has put fire danger into extreme zones.
A statewide ban is already in effect in all unincorporated areas. Before the Fourth of July, much of Weber County east of Harrison Boulevard and north of 3500 North was put off limits to all fireworks.
Smith’s Grocery Stores voluntarily stopped selling fireworks that shoot up into the air.
New restrictions are announced daily.
Ogden Fire Marshal Brandon Thueson issued new restrictions Wednesday, prohibiting fireworks and open fires east of Harrison Boulevard, all wooded areas along the Ogden River Parkway, all of the Fort Buenaventura area including baseball parks, the old landfill area in West Ogden and all open fields, vacant lots, wooded areas or brush-covered hills anywhere in the city.
The West Point City Council voted Tuesday night to ban all fireworks in city limits. Huntsville already bans all fireworks, and Black said Hooper has banned all fireworks in the city except for the single park north of town, where residents can shoot off fireworks they buy.
Syracuse has banned fireworks south and west of the Bluff Road corridor. Layton has restricted fireworks east of U.S. 89.
North Davis Fire Marshal Mark Becraft said Clearfield and Clinton have no restrictions.
The statewide ban includes all unincorporated areas and prohibits all fireworks and open fires. Black said some areas that look incorporated, such as Uintah Highlands, are not, and fireworks are banned there, too.
U.S. Forest Service regulations already prohibit fireworks in all public lands administered by the Forest Service. The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache has also issued a restriction on all open fires except in prepared fire pits in campgrounds.