This year’s Independence Day marked America’s 242nd birthday, celebrated with hundreds of thousands of parades, picnics and firework shows across the nation.
Americans spend more than $825 million on Fourth of July fireworks every year, according to statistics from WalletHub.
But more fires are reported on Independence Day than on any other day of the year, half of which are caused by fireworks, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association.
Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires a year in the United States, and Utah is no exception.
Firefighters across Utah County spent their Fourth of July responding to dozens of fires caused by fireworks.
Several departments reported that most fires burned less than an acre and were quickly put out by firefighters and community members.
There were also reports of garbage cans melting after being filled with discarded fireworks.
In Provo, there were 22 firework-related calls ranging from grass fires to burning garbage cans, said Capt. Dean York with the Provo Fire Department.
Fireworks caused several small fires in the north and south sides of the city, as well as two calls of fireworks in restricted areas. No injuries or structure damages were reported from any of the departments.
Orem firefighters responded to a dozen brush fires that each burned less than an acre. None of the fires were in restricted areas, and some of the fires were out before firefighters arrived.
“Citizens would get their garden hoses out and start putting them out,” said Battalion Chief Ryan Peterson with the Orem Fire Department.
Restriction areas may change for Pioneer Day later in July, he added.
“We’ll have to see how the weather goes the next couple of weeks,” Peterson said.
Crews in Lone Peak battled numerous “back to back fires with extended firework debris,” according to a Lone Peak Fire Department social media post.
Restricted firework areas increased in Springville this year, and Fire Chief Henry Clinton with the Springville Fire Department said that made a big difference to the number of fires.
“It was a pretty easy night,” Clinton said.
Firefighters responded to one brush fire in a field across the street from the Outlook Apartments at 664 S. 2600 West.
Payson firefighters also responded to just one firework-related fire.
“The family was lighting fireworks in the road and one of the fireworks tipped over and shot across the street,” said Fire Chief Scott Spencer with the Payson Fire Department.
The fire burned less than 10 feet of weeds and grass around a metal shed, he said.
The only firework-related incident in American Fork was a dumpster fire, said Lt. Jason Turner with the American Fork Fire Department.
“People shoot fireworks off, don’t let them cool down, throw them in the dumpster and then the heat smolders and starts the garbage can on fire,” he explained.
Unified Fire firefighters answered 45 firework-related calls across 12 areas, including Eagle Mountain. Several of those calls were also dumpster fires, said Eric Holmes, spokesperson for United Fire.
At one point, firefighters were responding to four brush fires and four dumpster fires at the same time.
“It’s a pretty easy connection to make when people are discarding their used or spent fireworks without properly extinguishing them,” he added.
In Pleasant Grove, crews responded to one brush fire and one garbage can fire.
“We did really well last night,” said Fire Chief Dave Thomas with the Pleasant Grove Fire Department. “I think people around here are getting used to the restrictions.”