July 18, 2007

Utah bans all fireworks

Oh Yes by all means talk to TNT about fireworks!? What the hell will they say to the Governor? Fireworks dont cause fires, people do...or some such nonsense. Or just to look good he could talk to them and tell them to go peddle their fire in California where the "Governator" did not have the balls to ban fireworks before July 4. Apparently the Utah Governor is more worried about fires than "Arnie", who is only afraid of Democrats. Utah's statehood on July 24 is yet another opportunity for fireworks distributors to cash in on what was not sold on July 4. Sort of a "fire sale" on fireworks.....

Fireworks distributors pan guv's proposed ban
By Dawn House
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Launched: 07/18/2007 12:23:13 AM MDT

A spokesman for one of the nation's largest distributors of fireworks blasted Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. for asking local municipalities to ban fireworks without the governor consulting industry officials.
"We've been a good corporate citizen," said TNT Fireworks spokesman Jerry Farley. "We're extremely disappointed that the governor has chosen not to talk to us."
On Tuesday, Huntsman asked local municipalities to ban personal fireworks in their jurisdictions because of wildland fire dangers. Fireworks already have been banned on all state, federal and unincorporated lands.
Farley said trucks already are loaded at the company warehouse in Salt Lake City in preparation for the July 24th celebration, which rivals the Fourth of July in revenues.
"People have been preparing for the past 11 months for this," he said. "Spaces have been leased, products have been paid for and now there's nothing."
Farley said it will be a gamble if operators and civil organizations pay for fireworks shipments because it is unclear which jurisdictions could ban their use.
Phantom Fireworks, which stocks 20 stores and 40 tents and stands in Utah, could lose as much as 30 percent of revenues from the ban, said account manager Joee Witter.
"Nonprofit organizations also will lose out, too," said Witter. "Selling our fireworks is a big fundraiser for many church and civil groups."
Marsha Gilford, spokeswoman for Smith's Food & Drug, said it's too soon to tell how an emergency declaration by Huntsman could impact the state's largest grocery store chain.
"If the decision is made in the best interest of the community, we're 100 percent behind it," said Gilford. "What we carry is low-key. We're not concerned about the loss of sales."

Tinder dry conditions
Emergency declaration: Governor asks cities, counties to ban personal fireworks

By Cathy McKitrick
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
Article Launched:07/18/2007 12:23:20 AM MDT
It's July in Utah - a time when it's not uncommon to hear whizzes, pops or loud bangs once darkness has fallen.
However, that kind of fireworks action could be outlawed less than a week before the Days of '47 celebrations on July 24. It depends on how individual towns and cities respond to a request by Utah's top official.
On Tuesday - spurred by the state's tinderbox conditions - Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. issued an emergency declaration asking local officials to ban personal fireworks within their jurisdictions.
"There isn't much we can do about the unpredictability of Mother Nature, which is the cause of many fires," Huntsman said in Tuesday's news release. "There is something, however, we all can do about human ignition of fires, which this year has been very costly."
This year's fire season officially began Monday - but more than 600,000 wildland acres have already been ravaged by fire this summer.
"We've had an insane number of fires already - more than 400 in the state," said the governor's spokeswoman, Lisa Roskelley. "Millions of dollars have already been spent fighting them."
East-side Holladay, positioned near the mountains and full of wooded lots, responded quickly Tuesday afternoon. City Manager Randy Fitts signed an executive order banning residential fireworks.
Then Draper's City Council, in an early evening meeting, voted 4-0 to ban the incendiaries.
"I agree with the governor. It's just too dry out there," Fitts said. Holladay's ban kicks in Friday.
But in Sandy, officials questioned whether they had the authority to ban personal fireworks.
"We tried it years ago," said Mayor Tom Dolan. "The Legislature said we cannot ban fireworks."
City Attorney Walter Miller agreed, noting state law requires that firework sales be allowed around certain holidays.
Some fireworks consumers responded with resentment to the governor's action.
Susannah Barnes, 28, standing near a fireworks display in a Salt Lake City supermarket, said the ban would be unfair.
"If [Huntsman] plans to ban personal fireworks, he has to ban them all," Barnes said, referring to the numerous professional displays planned throughout the state on July 24.
Stray fireworks at such shows also could cause fires, so they are just as dangerous, she said. Besides, fireworks are fun; they're festive, and children love them.
Johnathan Nielsen and his wife, Taren, said parents - not the governor - should decide whether they can buy fireworks.
Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall announced, via e-mail, his city will not be passing a ban.
The city, he explained, is not adjacent to any open lands that could be threatened by personal fireworks.
And one eastern Utah city, Roosevelt, indicated it may follow suit.
"There's not much chance for a wildfire within city boundaries, so I don't think we'll put a squelch on fireworks," said Mayor Russell Cowan. "But I think the governor is doing the right thing. In the more rural areas it's a big concern."
Meanwhile, Salt Lake City executives were unsure Tuesday whether implementing a municipal ban could be as simple as issuing an executive order.
Perhaps the issue should go before the City Council, suggested Patrick Thronson, spokesman for Mayor Rocky Anderson.
Such restrictions already are in place for state and federal lands - the governor issued that order July 2.
State Fire Marshall Dick Buehler concurs with Huntsman's statewide request.
"We're in one of the worst seasons I've seen in 34 years," Buehler said. "We've lost five civilian lives this year, and that's unprecedented."
In Sandy, where a number of east-bench homes cannot be served by fire trucks, City Council Chairman Bryant Anderson said his colleagues would consider a ban.
"We'd have to have some discussion. It makes sense to me, in a dry year like this, perhaps we could do without [personal fireworks]."
West Valley City Mayor Dennis Nordfelt said the governor's request "carries a lot of weight."
"A total ban would actually be easier to enforce than the laws we have now that allow some [fireworks] and not others."
Nordfelt's City Council considered passing a ban Tuesday night, but then declined to vote, citing a lack of time to study the issue, said city spokesman Aaron Crim.
Eagle Mountain already planned on a ban, according to its spokeswoman, Linda Peterson.
Lehi City Administrator Jamie Davidson said his Utah County community shares Huntsman's concerns. However, Lehi's next regularly scheduled council meeting is in August, well after July's Pioneer Day celebration winds down.
Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore said he sees merit - and complications - in the request.
"It would be very awkward to do, given all the fireworks stands that are up," Cullimore said. "There are probably some equity issues associated with having licensed those.
"I will certainly talk to the council."
Salt Lake County Councilman Jeff Allen supports such restrictions in the foothills, but wonders if a countywide ban is going too far. But Councilman Jim Bradley disagrees.
"I think it's for the best," Bradley said.

Reaction so far

Responses from several areas contacted about the governor's request to ban private fireworks:
* AGREE: Draper, Eagle Mountain and Holladay
* LIKELY TO CONSIDER: Sandy, West Valley City, Herriman, Cottonwood Heights, Orem and Park City
State Fire Marshall concurs with Huntsman's statewide request.

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