UFA responds to dozens of small fires, many caused by fireworks

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SALT LAKE CITY – Fire officials said a few dozen brush fires had to be put out across the Salt Lake Valley Saturday night, and the majority of them are being blamed on fireworks.

The Unified Fire Authority says every year, fireworks that are set off independently of planned displays, such as in driveways and back yards, tend to be a problem.

They said this year it’s particularly dangerous because of the dry conditions. Most of the fires were small and didn’t cause any structural damage, but the fire department said one strong wind gust and they could be facing a disaster.

Desmond Johnson of UFA said: “The wind came in right there just before firework time. And that can be a huge factor, that wind. We think, ‘We are all here, we are having a barbeque, let’s try it anyways.’ That’s one of the things we have to realize: Where are the sparks going to go? Where is the fallout going to happen?”

Johnson said Friday was a “pretty crazy, typical Fourth of July” and that they had to respond to numerous incidents.

Some of the fires took place in restricted areas where fireworks are not permitted. Those caught lighting fireworks in a restricted area could face a fine of up to $1,000. Click here for more information on fireworks restrictions.