June 28, 2012 Local Leaders Hold Joint Press Conference with Governor on Firework Regulations
More than 40 mayors, council members, and fire marshals from Duchesne to Logan and Eagle Mountain to Layton met with Governor Herbert today to discuss fireworks use and the potential fire danger in Utah. The leaders and Governor also held a joint news conference.
Governor Herbert announced that he has banned fireworks in all unincorporated areas of Utah. He then called on cities and towns to appropriately regulate firework use in their communities. He declared that he trusted local government leaders to balance allowing the use of fireworks in safe areas and banning the use fireworks in more hazardous areas. He suggested that cities could restrict fireworks to a particular park or parking lot within city limits but must keep an area available for fireworks use. Otherwise, he warned, if people don’t have a legal outlet to discharge fireworks, then they would discharge anywhere. Finally, he called on Utahns to exercise common sense when using fireworks.
On behalf of local governments, ULCT 1st Vice President and Salt Lake City Council Member Carlton Christensen then addressed the media. He explained that cities had the discretion to regulate fireworks in certain hazardous areas and that cities would also designate other areas as safe. He encouraged residents to check with their cities for individual restrictions. He also emphasized that cities would have a zero tolerance policy when enforcing firework law and that people who cause fires due to their fireworks or other discharges will be held liable.
After the press conference, Governor Herbert then met with the city officials and took questions. City officials asked about financial resources for fires, how to publicize both the “safe” areas and restricted areas, and whether cities had the authority to extensively ban fireworks. He again repeated that cities do not have the legal authority to ban all fireworks use and urged cities to provide a safe spot in the city where people could light their fireworks. He also repeated that he did not want to dictate to local government how to regulate fireworks. He urged city leaders to publicize their restrictions, work with the local retailers in their community, and enforce the law.
ULCT is actively monitoring the firework issue and will keep you posted on any new developments. We strongly recommend that, if your city is adopting a partial or comprehensive ban on firework use, you provide a list of reasons that demonstrate that environmentally hazardous conditions currently exist in your community. ULCT wants to ensure that local government retains the authority to regulate fireworks and wants the Governor or the Legislature to have evidence that cities and towns acted diligently and judiciously.
Additionally, we strongly recommend that you utilize your city website or social media to publicize the firework restrictions in your community. Please also forward the restrictions and ordinance to Janet at the State Fire Marshal’s office at email@example.com.
If you have questions or concerns about the state fireworks law or your city’s ability to regulate fireworks, please contact Cameron Diehl
at ULCT at 801-328-1601 or