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In our opinion: Statutory changes may be needed for fireworks in Utah

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

People watch the fireworks display during Stadium of Fire at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, July 1, 2017.

There will be efforts on Capitol Hill to review current laws on the use of fireworks after several episodes of property damage caused by wayward pyrotechnics during the July holiday season. While home fireworks displays are a cherished tradition for many families, there are good reasons to weigh their harm versus their celebratory benefits.

On the minus side, they cause significant damage by starting fires and contribute to poor air quality. Some military veterans afflicted with PTSD say they can be nerve-wracking, families with infants report restless nights and pet owners talk about jittery animals. There are laws governing the time, manner and use of fireworks in Utah, but they are notoriously hard to enforce. Some aficionados choose to blatantly disregard time constraints, and neighborhood explosions at 2 a.m. are hardly conducive to public tranquility.

Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights, has opened a legislative file on the matter after constituent complaints and an incident in her town in which aerial fireworks caused a brush fire and damaged a home. Before that, aerial fireworks sent flames toward an apartment building in nearby Midvale, where two residents were forced to jump from three-story windows. Poulson and others are even…

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