SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers are considering a plan that would reduce the number of days residents can set off fireworks amid concerns about fires, noise and air pollution in July.
State Rep. Jim Dunnigan, a Republican from Taylorsville, proposed legislation this week to allow fireworks two days before both Independence Day and Pioneer Day and one day after each. Current law says fireworks can be used on 14 days around the two July holidays.
Fireworks would still be allowed on New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year, and the measure would not ban aerial fireworks. Cities could restrict fireworks in more areas, such as parks and trails, based on fire officials’ recommendations.
“All we’re trying to do is keep people from discharging in these hazardous areas so people will still be able to enjoy them,” Dunnigan told The Salt Lake Tribune.
The measure comes after officials received numerous complaints last July about fireworks setting blazes and disrupting neighborhoods. State fire officials said that fireworks ignited 180 out of the 1,100 fires reported that month. In the Salt Lake City area, fireworks were blamed for starting 50 fires.
Millcreek Mayor Jeff Silvestrini said the majority of calls he received from residents last July were complaints about the effects of fireworks. Reports of blazes during the July holidays also took up the fire department’s time, restricting its ability to respond to other emergencies, he said.
“That’s an unacceptable situation,” Silvestrini said. “We need to have some sanity here, and I think this compromise moves us closer to that position.”