Fireworks are divided over whether bans will slow sales

While there weren’t as many customers as last year at a Millcreek fireworks stand as sales began Thursday, some sellers aren’t too concerned about the possible impact on sales. sales of the personal fireworks ban by Salt Lake City.

The ban was implemented on Tuesday by order of the Salt Lake City Fire Marshal due to dangerous wildfire conditions. Holladay, Millcreek and Ogden are among the most recent communities to implement restrictions on fireworks, although some municipalities say they cannot legally enact a total ban.

In addition to the ban, there is pressure not to use fireworks anywhere this year. Many officials are encouraging residents of towns without a ban not to use fireworks. “It’s just not worth the risk,” said Anthony Burton, Salt Lake City fire captain.

Amid the controversy, three fireworks vendors near Salt Lake said they hoped to change attitudes towards fireworks by encouraging safe use to prevent wildfire hazards.

“I’m not too worried – I know the laws are on our side and it’s always going to be a good year,” said Heidi Amott of Blast Pyro Fireworks, who has offices in Midvale, Ogden, West Valley City and Payson. . “When the media and things like that talk about bans and how horrible fireworks are… All that does is make those who buy the fireworks say, ‘Okay, well , I don’t wanna do it here by chance I’m in trouble, so I’m going to do it in the farmer’s field around the corner ‘… And that’s when we have the fires and the problems.

But Andrew Hacking, manager of a Phantom Fireworks booth in Millcreek, believes the ban “is definitely going to have a big impact on sales,” and says they had a lot more customers last year on the first day of the weekends. sales.

Hacking and Amott teach their customers about safety, and Amott believes more information on how to set off fireworks safely leads to fewer problems.

“We have a lot of flyers… that basically explain how to put out your fireworks properly, how to use them properly, what not to use around them,” Hacking said. “We have a lot of guidelines in place there that people can read, and we have a lot of restrictions that we have to follow so that we can sell them to people.”

Barbara Wolf and her husband started Wild Wolf Fireworks six years ago and they have four locations this year in Lehi, Taylorsville, West Jordan and Saratoga Springs. So far, they don’t expect much of an impact on their sales, with many customers already reaching out to Wild Wolf via social media for orders.

(Isaac Hale | Special for The Tribune) A no-smoking sign hangs over the fireworks on Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Wild Wolf Fireworks, located at 2300 W. Main St. in Lehi.

The couple had planned two more locations at Eagle Mountain, but closed the pits due to the ban.

“We fully support cities and their decisions,” said Wolf. “And we’re just asking people to respect their neighbors and city officials and the decisions they’ve made.”

Wolf said the town of Eagle Mountain told them they could still sell their fireworks there, but they made the decision not to, just in case.

“My husband and I both thought that if someone had bought something from one of our stalls and had taken it within the city limits, and had set off a fireworks display next to an open field or God forbid, a house or an apartment complex or something and caught it on fire, we wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, ”Wolf said.

“We really make sure to emphasize that with all of our operators, they teach every customer they come in contact with about safety, bracing, and having water nearby and just knowing where they’re shooting. And if they’re restricted in their area, go somewhere else and shoot them down because those restrictions are in place for a reason, ”she added.

Those who buy fireworks can call their local municipalities to find a safe place to set them off if their residential area is closed, Amott said. When firefighters inspect fireworks stands, they give vendors a map of the safe areas to set off the fireworks, Wolf said. She makes sure her store also distributes a safety flyer with every purchase so customers can safely light their fireworks.

“The most important thing would be [to] know the laws, talk to your constituents, talk to people, teach them to be safe with fireworks, instead of pissing them off and scaring them, ”Amott said. “Teach them how to be safe, where to go to be safe, so that everyone can enjoy it and you don’t have those who … are going to try to hide it and do it in an illegal area, or do illegal fireworks that are not in the safety instructions, and then cause problems.

Wolf said they’ve never faced a full city ban like this year, but there are usually towns with specific areas restricted each year that she sells.

“We have always made sure that customers know they have access to this information [where they can set fireworks off safely]”Wolf said.” This year we have great maps all over our locations so they can look and see. We have the Unified Interactive Fire Map on our website, as well as on our Facebook page to which we constantly refer people if they have questions.

(Isaac Hale | Special for The Tribune) Jay Wolf, co-owner of Wild Wolf Fireworks, marks the areas on a map that shows where patrons can and cannot set off fireworks on Friday, June 25, 2021, at his booth in fireworks located at 2300 W. Main St. in Lehi. Wolf issues a card to customers with every purchase and will update the card if the regulations change.

Amott says she sees legal action “underway” if authorities illegally ban fireworks, as there must be a sufficient need for fireworks to be banned in the area.

“It’s just [important in] spread the word to teach safety as opposed to… restrictions, ”Amott said. “Help educate instead of immediately jumping to ‘Oh, get rid of it’ or the comment ‘Fireworks start fires.’ It’s like saying that a spoon made me fat. It’s the people who do things irresponsibly and dangerously with fireworks that cause trouble.