Last week, the Carbon County Commissioners faced the ever-growing concern of the drought, recent fires and the possible use of fireworks in the county for the July 4th holiday.
Carbon County Emergency Manager Justin Needles opened the conversation, stating that as of the meeting, the county was in stage one of restrictions through the state forester. This includes restrictions on shooting near dry vegetation, no smoking and more. This does not limit campfires to already approved pits.
Needles explained that there have been discussions and he learned that they were looking to enter into stage two as of Friday, June 18. This would include no fires whatsoever, no fireworks permitted and propane use only for outdoor cooking.
On top of that, Needles acknowledged that it is not a popular opinion, but as the emergency manager, he has witnessed what the wildlife fires look like this year and he believed that it was in the county’s best interest to set the example and not host the yearly firework show.
Commission Chair Tony Martines said that he was in complete agreement with Needles and had contacted Lantis Fireworks, who was scheduled to do the annual show. Lantis has already had communities cancel other firework shows, with the possibility of moving them to a New Year’s celebration.
“I’m in agreement with your guidance,” Commissioner Martines stated.
Commissioner Larry Jensen agreed that the conditions are serious enough to need to strictly follow whatever the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or state is asking with no exceptions. Commissioner Casey Hopes stated he was in agreement to be in alignment as separate rules would create confusion.
The order to restrict fire and fireworks does not affect cities. Each individual city within the county will have to adopt their own resolutions, which has already began in special meetings such as the one hosted by Helper City on June 15.
“There’s no reason for anyone here to take chances,” said Commissioner Jensen.
Needles then informed the commission that, on the Fourth of July last year, there were a total of eight fires from fireworks and if there were that many last year, he can only imagine the damage that would be caused this year. Commissioner Jensen motioned to adopt the resolution of the Carbon County Board of Commissioners regulating the use of fireworks and other ignition sources in unincorporated areas of the county.
Language was added to allow the resolution to move to whichever other stages may be put in place by the state or the BLM as the season continues.