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Front Page » July 3, 2003 » Local News » Drought intensifies fireworks concerns
Published 4,187 days ago

Drought intensifies fireworks concerns


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By KAREN BASSO
Staff reporter


Chelesa Prettyman stocks the shelves of a local firework stand with federally approved products. This July 4, Carbon County residents are reminded of fire dangers and urged to use caution while using fireworks. Utah law allows residents to light fireworks through July 7.

Drought conditions continue to plague the state and the July 4 holiday raises concerns of fire danger in the Carbon County area.

In order to avoid the outbreak of a grass fire or personal burn injury, local residents are urged to use caution while using fireworks during the summer holidays.

Although no specific firework restrictions have been placed in the county, fire authorities remind residents that current environmental conditions are extremely dry and a fire could easily erupt.

"It is important for residents to remember that a level one fire restriction is still underway however, there are no current firework restrictions that have been administered," explained county fire warden Rudy Sandoval.

Under the level one restrictions, Carbon County residents are not allowed to controlled burns without a obtaining proper permit. The restriction is expected to remain in effect until October if not later.

The county fire warden was quick to point out that it is illegal to light fireworks on public lands at all times of the year.

"Wooded areas are a prime location for a fire to break out. That is why fireworks are not allowed in these areas," explained Sandoval.

Aside from fire dangers, fireworks also pose a personal injury problem for thousands of Americans each year.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 8,000 Americans were treated last year for firework related injuries.

The safety commission confirmed that illegal fireworks continue to be a serious problem.

During the past 10 years, 33 percent of the injuries associated with fireworks have typically been caused by illegal explosives or homemade fireworks.

Not only is the use of illegal fireworks a crime, but it is also extremely dangerous.

According to the safety commission, illegal fireworks will usually be unlabeled and will not bear a caution statement and will not list the manufacturer's name.

It is required by the product safety commission that all legal fireworks display a name, manufacturer and easy to read instructions.

In order to use fireworks in Utah, consumers must be aware of the standard guidelines which classify a product as legal.

The designated guidelines specify that legal fireworks:

•May produce a shower of sparks to a maximum of 15 feet.

•Are not designed to explode or leave the ground.

•May be devices that spin, jump or emit popping sounds when discharged.

•Commonly used legal fireworks include cones, fountains and sparklers.

If a Carbon County resident is in doubt about whether a product is legal or not, they are encouraged to contact a local law enforcement agency before lighting the product.

Although legal fireworks are safer now than ever, injuries can still occur. The safety commission suggests that residents perform the following precautions to reduce the risk of injury.

•Always read and follow label directions.

•Adult supervision is required for all firework activities.

•Buy from reliable sources.

•Ignite products away from buildings, vehicles, flammable materials and dry grass.

•Ignite fireworks on a smooth, flat surface.

•Keep a bucket of water nearby.

•Never experiment or attempt to make fireworks.

•Light fireworks one at a time.

•Never reignite malfunctioning products.

•Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

•Never throw fireworks at others.

•Never shoot fireworks in a metal or glass container.

•No part of the shooter's body should be over the firework.

•Eye protection should be worn.

It is also important to note that Utah state law allows the use of fireworks three days prior to and following the July 4 and July 24 holidays. This means that between July 1 and 7 and July 21 and 27, firework use is legal.

With a bit of caution, Carbon County residents will find that the July 4 holiday will be enjoyable and safe this year.


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