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Utah leaders urge residents to forgo fireworks this July 4th

June 30, 2021 GMT
A sign advertising fireworks is shown on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in American Fork, Utah. July Fourth fireworks are a mainstay summer tradition for Americans, many of whom are aching for normalcy as pandemic restrictions ease. But with a megadrought gripping the West and heightening fears of another devastating wildfire season, officials across the region are enacting bans, canceling displays or begging people to be careful. (Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
A sign advertising fireworks is shown on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in American Fork, Utah. July Fourth fireworks are a mainstay summer tradition for Americans, many of whom are aching for normalcy as pandemic restrictions ease. But with a megadrought gripping the West and heightening fears of another devastating wildfire season, officials across the region are enacting bans, canceling displays or begging people to be careful. (Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and other local leaders urged state residents Wednesday to forgo using personal fireworks this summer as the state faces a historic drought.

Cox and more than 30 Utah city mayors and council members called on people to instead celebrate July Fourth and Pioneer Day — a holiday only celebrated in Utah every July 24 — at public celebrations sponsored by Utah communities.

“With this year’s extremely dry conditions, all it takes is one spark to set off a life-threatening blaze,” Cox said. “We love our great nation and state, but there are much better ways to celebrate our independence and heritage than personal fireworks this year. Please celebrate safely!”

Several Utah cities are banning people from setting off their own fireworks this year during the record drought, but many Republicans are against a statewide prohibition. Fireworks are banned on all state and unincorporated business lands, but Cox, a Republican, has said he does not have the legal authority to enact a statewide ban.

Salt Lake City issued a fireworks ban and open burning ban last week, which prohibits people from starting any fires outside.