With the fireworks season upon us, it is important for every member of our community to do their part to prevent fires. Firefighters in Washington County have received 20 calls for brush fires since June 1, 2012. The Leeds and New Harmony fires, two of the largest, burned several thousand acres and caused damage to many outbuildings and destroyed structures, property and vehicles. When last reported, the New Harmony fire, which has moved into Iron County, was only 60% contained.
Fire restrictions have been imposed throughout state and federal managed lands within Washington County. Many communities have enacted ordinances. Other restrictions are defined by Utah law. It is your responsibility to know and obey the fire restrictions in your location. In addition to the possibility of criminal charges, you may be responsible for fire suppression costs.
Utah law restricts the discharge of lawful fireworks as follows:
Between the hours of 11am and 11pm except as noted:
July 1 – July 7 (July 4 hours extended to midnight)
July 21 – 27 (July 24 hours extended to midnight)
The Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, National Park Service and the State of Utah each have differing fire restrictions, but the following regulations are common for all.
1. Setting, building, maintaining, attending or using open fires of any kind, except campfires built within the facilities provided for them in improved campgrounds, picnic areas or permanently improved places of habitation.
2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared to mineral soil.
3. Discharging, or using any kind of fireworks, tracer ammunition or other pyrotechnic devices.
These restrictions do not apply to lands within incorporated towns and cities; however, each municipality may have similar or more restrictive ordinances. Questions about specific areas should be directed to local authorities.
The Utah Department of Public Safety Office of the State Fire Marshal website offers links to many of the Utah county, city and town ordinances. For full information on restrictions state and federal managed lands, visit http://www.utahfireinfo.gov/ . This website also offers information on current fires in Utah and explains how to build defensible space around your property. Firefighters have reported that many homes near the Leeds and New Harmony fires were saved because the owners had built effective defensible space around their homes.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office hopes everyone will do their part to prevent fires and wish everyone a safe July 4th holiday.
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