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The City Journals

Education and professional firework shows helped reduce fire threat in Draper this summer

Aug 23, 2021 09:06AM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

In an effort to curtail personal fireworks because of fire concerns, the city put on three nights of professional fireworks shows rather than the traditional one during Draper Days. (Mimi Darley Dutton/City Journals)

By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]

Personal fireworks happening during an extreme drought was a major cause for concern heading into the Fourth of July holiday. But multiple messages to the public about firework safety and restrictions paired with three nights of professional fireworks hosted by Draper City seem to have kept the fire threat largely under control. 

“All in all for that Fourth of July weekend, we fared very well. I give a lot of credit to my residents that took heed of the warnings and the education we put out, and information on the restricted areas. We observed very little violation in what I would consider the major restricted areas (east of 1300 East, south of 13800 South and west of I-15). We had a lot of visibility in those areas with fire and police patrolling and trying to make a presence,” Fire Chief Clint Smith said. 

Sirens could be heard in the city at approximately 10 p.m. the night of the Fourth of July. Two firework-caused fires flared up in roughly the same area of the city, 300 East and Bellevue Park. 

Firefighters first responded to the fire on 300 East. According to Smith, those involved were in a legal area to light fireworks, but they were in close proximity to a large, undeveloped field. “One got into that dry brush and immediately ignited that. Our crews were able to respond really quickly. We sent a lot of resources and they were able to get a handle on that fire rapidly so it didn’t go beyond dry brush. Right on the heels of that we had a call for a small fire in Bellevue Park. When our crews arrived, they did observe individuals lighting fireworks. All of our parks within the city are restricted by ordinance. I do believe a citation was issued,” he said.

Draper’s Fire Department has to make decisions to be fully staffed during high fire danger times, including holidays when fireworks are permitted, while also being able to send crews to other areas of Utah and other states when help is needed. Smith said a crew went to help with a fire near Moab prior to the Fourth of July, but the crew returned to Draper to make sure the department was fully staffed for the July 4 holiday. Just before the Pioneer Day holiday, Draper was among several Utah fire departments that sent personnel to help battle the Bootleg Megafire in Oregon, the largest fire in the nation at the time.

During Draper Days, a significant fire and police presence kept those gathered for concerts and fireworks in Draper Park safe. Fire department personnel could be seen guarding the roof of the Draper Library, watching for errant embers. 

According to Draper Mayor Troy Walker, the city used the same vendor who does the Stadium of Fire fireworks to do three, 12-minute shows for Draper Nights. They used some of the money they’d saved by not doing a firework show in 2020 to offset the cost of the three shows this year. Walker said the city had planned to do a firework show during the height of pandemic last year, but instead they opted to send Draper police to help with the riots that had broken out in Salt Lake City, so they decided against doing a firework show without extra personnel.

Walker echoed Smith’s sentiments. “I want to thank the residents. They were very responsible,” he said following the Fourth of July.