Thanks for Safely Handling Fireworks and Campfires

Thanks for Safely Handling Fireworks and Campfires
Posted on 09/03/2018

By UFA Assistant Chief Mike Watson

A number of questions about fireworks, recreational fires and open burning have been surfacing lately since the July holidays have come to a close. Here are some answers:

First, thank you to the residents of Cottonwood Heights for being safe and responsible during the Fourth and 24th of July fireworks celebrations. It was evident that citizens were well-informed and took the information seriously. I am happy to report that the city didn’t have any grassfires on the Fourth of July. We had one small grassfire on the 24th that was extinguished quickly by fire crews. These statistics are a reflection of how much Cottonwood Heights residents care about the city and the safety of their neighbors.

There are three different types of fires:

A recreational fire is a fire that is essentially a campfire.

An agricultural fire is allowed by permit only and pertains to areas such as farms or mini-farms.

If a fire does not fit within either of these descriptions, it is an open fire, which is not allowed.

The following information is provided by Unified Fire Authority’s Fire Prevention Division for Salt Lake County:

Open Burning. Residential open burning (other than "Recreational Fires") is not allowed in Salt Lake County.

Agricultural burning. Land must be zoned “Agricultural,” limiting the burning incident to horticultural or agricultural operations (i.e. ditches, fence lines, horticulture pruning, stubble and controlled heating to prevent freezing of crops). Among the restrictions: a minimum of five contiguous acres of land used for Agricultural or Horticultural operation is required, and you must contact Valley Emergency Communications Center (VECC) at 801-840-4000 with your name, address and time of burn prior to starting the burn operation.

Recreational fires. The fuel area cannot exceed 3 feet diameter by 2 feet in height. Burn only dry, clean natural materials. No trash or rubbish, tires, oil or construction waste can be burned. Open fires also must be kept 25 feet away from a structure or combustible materials. Fires contained in an improved barbecue pit or portable outdoor fireplace require a minimum of 15 feet of clearance from combustibles.

Remember to reference the map on the Cottonwood Heights website, www.cottonwoodheights.utah.gov, to ensure you do not use a recreational fire in one of the closed areas. Those areas are closed to all ignition sources, not just fireworks, when hazardous conditions exist. Hazardous conditions exist when we are experiencing such things as hot temperatures, low relative humidity and wind. Across the state of Utah, we currently have had 375 wildfires, many of which you have seen or read about in the news. These numbers are unprecedented, considering the fact that the fire season isn’t over. Please continue to be responsible and keep these fires from happening in Cottonwood Heights.

Thank you and as always, be safe!