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Lehi City Council approves partial fireworks ban

By Connor Richards daily Herald - | Jun 29, 2021
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Homes stand in northwestern Lehi near Interstate 15 on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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A map shows the areas in Lehi where fireworks will be prohibited on the 4th and 24th of July holidays. 

Heading into the 4th of July weekend, the Lehi City Council voted to approve an ordinance banning fireworks in some parts of the north Utah County city.

A map of the restrictions shows that class C fireworks — which include firecrackers, roman candles and missile-type rockets — are prohibited north of Timpanogos Highway and south of Pioneer Crossing, as well as on the western edge of the city. Additionally, class C fireworks are not allowed in the area surrounding Dry Creek Way and north of Airport Drive.

The ordinance allows for fireworks at various parks in Lehi, including Sage Vista Park, Vets Memorial Park, Sports Park and certain parts of Olympic Park and does not apply “to permitted public fireworks displays authorized by the City and approved by the City’s fire code official.”

Violation of the fireworks restrictions will result in an infraction and a $1,000 fine, while “negligent discharge” will be a class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The ordinance, which passed unanimously during a Lehi City Council meeting on Tuesday, comes as Utah County and the rest of the state experiences extreme drought conditions and wildfire danger.

It states that the council finds that “within Lehi City, the current drought conditions and water conservation efforts have caused extremely hazardous environmental conditions, impacting the combustibility of trees, grasses, and the like” and that “based on information from the Lehi City Fire Marshall … Lehi City has a number of dry grass-covered areas, waterways, trails, washes or similar areas throughout the city that present dangerous conditions relating to fire danger.”

Based on those findings, “the Lehi City Council has determined that the minimal restriction on public convenience which would occur through a restriction on the use of personal fireworks is significantly outweighed by the need to protect public health and safety and to take precautions to guard against the existing extraordinary fire danger.”

Lehi Fire Chief Jeremy Craft, who presented the ordinance, told the city council that the restrictions “will mitigate much of the larger hazards in the city” while still allowing fireworks in some areas.

“The easy thing to say is ban it (throughout the entire city),” Craft said. “Is that the right thing for the community? I don’t think it is.”

Councilmember Katie Koivisto said she agreed and liked the idea of giving residents “options,” but later added that “just because you can (light off fireworks in certain areas) doesn’t mean you should do it.”

“So I think this is great,” she said.

Councilmember Paul Hancock said he supported the restrictions because they “put some parameters on it and provide guidelines for people” but added that there will still likely be some residents who light off fireworks in restricted areas.

“You can’t legislate stupid,” said Hancock.

Craft said the Lehi Fire Department has a “fairly comprehensive plan” for how it will monitor areas where fireworks aren’t allowed.

Mayor Mark Johnson, who said he and city council members have received “a lot of emails” from residents both for and against fireworks restrictions, called the ordinance a “reasonable compromise.”

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