Facebook Twitter

Leavitt warns of illegal, dangerous fireworks

SHARE Leavitt warns of illegal, dangerous fireworks

Gov. Mike Leavitt warned Tuesday that fireworks hurt people, cause property damage and can start dangerous wildfires.

Fire danger is extreme throughout Utah. Natalie Gouchnour of the governor's office noted that prolonged heat and lack of rainfall cause range conditions that are more like early August than those typically found in early July.

Speaking at Red Butte Garden, Leavitt pleaded with Utahns to have a great, safe Fourth of July. If illegal fireworks start blazes, they can cause a great deal of damage.

Last year, according to Leavitt, more than 100,000 acres of rangeland and forests burned in Utah. That cost the state more than $5 million in firefighting expenses, while federal agencies spent much more.

State fire Marshal Gary Wise said legal fireworks, called "class C common fireworks," are the types that can be bought in supermarkets or approved fireworks stands. "A legal firework will not exceed 15 feet in height in the sparks and shower of sparks it throws."

To be legal, fireworks that travel along the ground can't continue more than 10 feet. A legal firework can pop but not explode.

Illegal fireworks are bottle rockets and other airborne displays more than 15 feet high and those that explode, he said.

A statewide fire ban that went into effect Monday restricts open campfires and fireworks in most of northern Utah. Smoking is prohibited in the dry countryside, except in closed buildings or vehicles, developed recreation sites or areas cleared of all flammable material.