LOGAN — A combination of record high temperatures and dry conditions, plus the Independence Day Holiday has fire fighters apprehensive. Traditionally they respond to several fires in Cache Valley started by fireworks, but this year could be much worse.
Logan City Fire Marshal Craig Humphreys said the valley is normally not this dry in July. For those that still want to celebrate the holiday with fireworks need to be aware of restrictions in their area. The regulations vary from one town to another.
“Each mayor and city council sets those individually for their community,” explained Humphreys. “I just really encourage everyone throughout the valley to check with your local city. Also, the state has excluded all unincorporated areas from fires including fireworks. Those are definitely not allowed in those areas. If you live inside an incorporated city, be sure to check with your city for those restricted areas.”
It is legal to discharge fireworks between July 2 – 5 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. On July 4, the time frame is extended to midnight.
Logan City Police Capt. Curtis Hooley said extra officers will be out enforcing illegal fireworks use. A majority of them will be patrolling the areas where fireworks are restricted.
“Obviously with the fire danger being as high as it is, there is a lot of concern in the city government about the possibilities of fires cause by fireworks,” Hooley said. “We will be working that and taking more of an enforcement stance as well.”
The Cache County Fire District has posted a map of the valley, showing where fireworks can be lit off. The link can be found at cachecounty.org.
Humphreys said a majority of holiday fires he has seen in his career happened because fireworks weren’t disposed of properly. The fireworks will ignite inside a garbage can or dumpster.
“Citizens will dispose of these fireworks in their garbage cans and then wheel it into their garage or up next to their homes,” explained Humphreys. “The fireworks then ignite a fire and spreads to the home. It is such a tragic thing to see that property loss due to something that is supposed to bring us so much enjoyment. It is very important to properly dispose of those materials when you are done.”
Fire fighters advice following instructions when lighting fireworks. Also, in addition to having a garden hose nearby, they recommend soaking all used fireworks overnight in a bucket of water.
Hooley said they are placing extra officers in the restricted areas because that is where a fire could be catastrophic and spread to nearby fields, hillsides and the mountains. He recommended that citizens contact law enforcement if they see anyone violating the restrictions.
“If there is not a fire that has been started, just call our dispatch at 435-753-7555 and report a fireworks complaint,” Hooley said. “Officers can then go up into that area and determine whether the fireworks are going off in a restricted area.”
Violators of the restrictions can be charged with a class B misdemeanor, punishable by serving time in jail and paying a fine.