State to Review Laws to Address Fire Season

(KCPW News) Does the state need to do more to prevent wildfires? Governor Gary Herbert says in light of this year’s extreme fire season, he’s asked the legislature and other state leaders to review target shooting.

“We are looking at that in a review process now to see if the laws on the books optimize our ability to stop and prevent fires and to address fires once they’re started,” he says. “We’re asking for input the sheriffs, police and the League of Cities and Towns and the Utah Association of Counties, and so if there is a need for adjustment in the current legislation, I want to hear those recommendations.”

Firearms are being blamed for nearly 20 fires in the state so far this year, including the Dump Fire still burning inSaratoga Springs. There have been 402 fires altogether so far across Utah this year.

When it comes to fireworks, Salt Lake City Fire Marshall Martha Ellis says even though the legislature recently reduced the timeframe they can be shot off in the state, it didn’t change the time period in which they can be sold, creating some problems for her department.

“We’re already seeing fireworks being lit in the valley, aerial fireworks. It gets frustrating for us as fire professionals and safety professionals to have the support of the state where they come in and say ‘ok, maybe it was a bad idea to have them going off everyday from June 26 to July 27,’ and then the citizens just aren’t listening,” she says.

Possessing or igniting fireworks is currently illegal on state and federal lands in Utah.

In Salt Lake City, fireworks are banned in the following locations this summer:

  • All areas east of Foothill Drive, and east of 1300 E to 500 S, including the University of Utah campus
  • All areas north of South Temple to State Street and North Temple to 200 W
  • City Creek Canyon
  • East of 200 W / Wall Street to 300 W
  • East 300 W north of Wall Street through Beck Street to the city limit to the north
  • All city parks and wildland urban interface areas
  • All areas west of I-215