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Sandy City issues new restrictions on where/when you can set off fireworks

May 17, 2018 12:53PM ● Published by Justin Adams

A map showing the new geographical restrictions for fireworks in the city of Sandy.

By Justin Adams | j.adams@mycityjournals.com

Sandy residents eager to celebrate the 4th of July with barbecues and fireworks this summer may want to double-check that they’re not breaking a new Sandy City ordinance that expands the area within the city where fireworks are prohibited.

During this year’s Utah state legislative session, the legislature passed House Bill 38, which granted cities more autonomy in how they restrict fireworks within their city. While it did not allow cities to ban them completely, many Wasatch Front cities are taking advantage of the bill by cutting down on when and where fireworks can be set off, including Sandy.

Sandy City ordinance 18-13 (passed on May 8) restricts both when and where fireworks can be set off in Sandy.

Previously, fireworks could be used three days prior to the 4th of July or Pioneer Day, the day of the holiday, and three days after. Now, that time frame has shrunk to two days before the holiday, the day of, and one day following. For this year’s holidays, that means fireworks in Sandy will only be permissible on July 2–5 and July 22–25.

As for new geographic restrictions, the ordinance amended city code Title 8 Chapter 6 with a new section, which prohibits the discharge of fireworks in “mountainous, brush-covered, forest-covered, or dry grass-covered areas,” “within 200 feet of waterways, trails, canyons, washes, ravines, vacant lots, or similar areas where natural or unmaintained vegetation is present,” and “the wildland urban interface area, which means the line, area, or zone where structures or other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland or land being used for an agricultural purpose.”

What that all boils down to is in large areas of Sandy where fireworks used to be okay, they are now prohibited. This includes most of the city east of 1300 East and everything west of 300 West.  

The Sandy Fire Department hopes these new restrictions will help prevent large fires during the dry summer months.

“Last summer we had a firework-related fire in the Dimple Dell area that burned several acres,” Sandy Fire Marshall Robert Dekorver told the Sandy City Journal.

According to Dekorver, the final ordinance is based on the feedback of both city officials as well as the responses of a citizen survey conducted by the city. Of the 1,000+ Sandy residents who responded to the survey, Dekorver said that over 90 percent were in favor of increasing restrictions on fireworks.

Concerns about fireworks extend beyond the issue of safety. At a previous city council meeting when this ordinance was first introduced, some citizens noted that fireworks can be distressing for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Others noted that fireworks can be dangerous for animals, who become startled when the fireworks are set off, resulting in everything from dogs running away or dying from a heart attack to a horse falling into a backyard pool.

The main hurdle for the fire department going forward is enforcement, which Dekorver said is always the hardest part of any fireworks legislation. At the May 8 city council meeting he said the fire department would be notifying people that they can call the city police department’s non-emergency phone number to report illegal use of fireworks. 

“Hopefully we have a lot of citizens that take this responsibility,” he said. “We hope that people will enjoy the 4th of July but that they’ll enjoy it responsibly in a legal area.” 

Slide the vertical bar to see the before-and-after of where fireworks are restricted in Sandy city.

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