Some local officials are worried the cancellation of city firework displays due to COVID-19 could lead to an uptick in personal shows.
Logan’s Fire Chief Brad Hannig said though fire restriction zones in the area have not changed from last year, he’s concerned about the increase in consumer fireworks because of weather conditions.
“We have drier conditions than we’ve had for a long time in the spring,” he said at the June 16 Logan Municipal Council meeting. “Therefore, even though we’ve had rain today and we had rain a couple weekends ago, the months of April and May were lower than they’ve been in a long time.”
However, Rod Hammer, the fire chief for Cache County Fire District, said the fire risk is still lower this year.
“The advantage we have is this is probably one of the lowest fire danger years leading up to the Fourth,” he said. “The temperatures are supposed to be in the 70s next week, and there’s not a lot of dry grass, so it looks favorable.”
The state requires local governing bodies to set restrictive areas in each community, and Hannig said the city has been “pretty liberal” in terms of what’s allowed in city limits, but the benches have, historically, been areas of concern in Cache Valley. Both Hannig and Hammer agreed that the cancellation of Logan’s “Freedom Fire” — the biggest local firework event — will likely mean an increase in fireworks in the area.
But for smaller cities and unincorporated areas of the county, not having a citywide display is nothing new, according to Cache County Fire Marshal Jason Winn.
“I’m always concerned about the fireworks,” Winn said. “My concern is mainly the unincorporated part of the county. As of right now, we don’t have any restriction on fireworks.”
Winn said usually by July 24, that may change as temperatures rise and grasses dry out, though “there’s always going to be those people who ignore the restrictions, and they just do it anyway.”
“And some years are better than others,” he said. “Last year we were fairly busy on the Fourth of July, and then the year before that, everybody was actually pretty good. We didn’t hardly respond to any, so it all depends on people and how responsible they are.”
Several cities are still hosting firework displays, despite cancelling other events, which Hammer expects to help. Thanks to local business and citizen sponsorship, Richmond, North Logan, Providence and Hyrum are holding coordinated shows on July 3 at 10 p.m., and Lewiston’s will be on July 4, as originally planned.
The cities are asking people who attend to remain in their vehicles or practice safe social distancing measures to minimize risk.
Winn encourages those who plan to shoot off fireworks on their own “go to a parking lot, go to the nearest city, look at the restrictions, and try to do it in an area where they’re not going to impact or start a fire.”
Firework stands in Logan are set to sell fireworks until July 25, though discharge is not allowed until July 2-5, and July 22-25.
More information on areas where fireworks are restricted in Cache County is available on each city’s website.