Firefighters urge fireworks users to be safe, look up

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SALT LAKE CITY – Firefighters are warning Utahns who plan to set off fireworks this week to make sure they look up before lighting the fuse.

Firefighters said people don’t always consider the trees above them when choosing where to set off the patriotic pyrotechnics.

Fire Marshal Martha Ellis said many neighborhoods have trees providing a canopy over the streets, and she said those trees can be dangerous when it comes to fireworks.

“If you were to set off a firework right here and it goes up, there`s an extremely good chance it`s going to hit the branches and if not, hit `em and come back down, go ahead and explode above it and drop the embers into the trees,” she said.

Utah’s streets are designed for drainage, which means fireworks may not have the stable platform they need.

"We've actually had some issues because the mortars are right on the edge, sometimes this one will tend to rock or come up and land on its side,” Ellis said.

Ellis said people should brace fireworks with bricks or other non-combustible objects to keep them from falling over and creating trouble. She said once a firework gets going, it doesn’t stop until it’s depleted.

“All of these charges are going to go, unless it`s a dud, all of these are designed to go, there is no stopping it,” she said. “So you can imagine how exciting that`s going to get when your firework jumps up and lands on its side and starts discharging into your garage or into your neighbor`s garage or whatever the case might be."

Authorities said that even people who don’t live in an area with a fireworks ban should be cautious. They said people should be sure to leave plenty of room both around and above fireworks.

“I just can`t say it enough, I want people to understand that when you`re looking at your 30-foot radius, you`re not looking at the ground, you`re looking up. Because that`s where these are going to go,” Ellis said.

Related Story: Fire Marshal outlines when, where fireworks may be discharged