Fireworks and fire hazards

A Fire prevention logo meant to spread awareness about fire safety and prevention.

With Independence Day firework celebrations around the corner, it is important to be safe and cautious with fireworks this season, especially as Utah’s weather starts to get warmer.

One way to prevent fires, whether it be local or in a forest, is by being aware of Utah’s fire restrictions. Examples of this include only having campfires in areas that are regulated for this activity and avoiding welding or cutting metal in areas of dry vegetation.

When it comes to fireworks, safety precautions must be considered to prevent local fires. It is also important to be aware of what fireworks can be used within legal limits in Utah. Kevin Brown, the Fire Marshal for the Ogden City Fire Department, explained how to be safe when it comes to the use of fireworks.

“Have a bucket of water nearby, and once you are done with the firework, put it in the bucket of water; let it soak,” Brown said. “Don’t leave the fireworks unattended once it is done.”

Brown said that where the firework might land needs to be considered, as this is a great way to prevent a fire from starting.

“Make sure that the firework isn’t going to land on someone’s property, roof, yard or trees,” he said.

Brown states that when it comes to putting out a fire caused by a firework, a water hose or fire extinguisher can always be used if the fire is small enough. Fire spreads quickly and calling 911 is always an option when it comes to putting out a fire.

“Be safe with fireworks,” Brown said. “You can be held liable if you start a fire negligently with fireworks,” Brown said.

Fireworks are not the only thing to be mindful of this time of year. As the temperature gets hotter in the coming July and August months, fires can start more easily due to the dry nature of Utah.

“The converters on cars can get hot enough to start a fire in grass,” Brown said. “You don’t really want to be driving through grass that is brushing under your vehicle. This applies to four-wheelers and motorcycles too.”

Brown said spark arrestors are one way to prevent a vehicle from starting a fire. A spark arrestor can contain or dispose of hot exhaust particles that are generated by the internal engine on a vehicle.

However, it is important to note that moisture levels in Utah have gone up since the previous years.

“Fires are always a huge concern this time of year, but it is not as dry as normal this year,” Brown said. “Basically, by this time of year our fuel moistures are really low, but because of the cool June that we had this year, there is more moisture in the air.”

Hopefully with higher moisture levels this year and taking the correct safety precautions this summer, Utah can have a fire-free season.