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Holladay Journal

Holladay eases firework restrictions

Jun 04, 2024 11:23AM ● By Travis Barton

Areas where personal firework use is restricted will be loosened this summer. (Wikimedia)

Since 2021, when the state faced extreme enough drought conditions the governor declared a state emergency, increased restrictions were placed on personal fireworks. 

In 2024, Holladay is rolling some of them back. 

The City Council approved in a 5-1 vote to revert to the firework restriction map prior to 2021, citing the reduced risk from two healthy water years. 

“I couldn’t, in my personal conscience, not go back to where we were two years ago,” Councilmember Ty Brewer said prior to the vote in late April. 

The most notable change will be 1300 East. In the last few years, personal fireworks east of 1300 East were prohibited. The Unified Fire website has an interactive map that can tell you whether your area is restricted or not ( 

Assistant Fire Chief Riley Pilgrim said they will always err on the side of public safety and advocate for restrictions, but recognized each city has its own discretion. 

“(Increased restrictions) makes our job a little safer that time of year, but we do know this decision is up to every individual council and the risk they’re willing to take” during firework season, he said. 

Neighboring cities to Holladay took different approaches. Cottonwood Heights also reverted to its previous map before 2021 while Millcreek chose to keep its restriction line at 900 East. 

Undeveloped parks and wildland areas, as well as 200 feet within waterways, ravines and foothills are still restricted.

Pilgrim acknowledged circumstances are different to what they were in 2021, and risk is reduced “but our stance will always be to promote and encourage restrictions, but allow you to make that decision.” 

Councilmember Paul Fotheringham, the lone dissenting vote who represents Holladay on the UFA board, was open to moving back to the old map but was concerned with the lack of coordination in an area like 3900 South. That’s where Millcreek and Holladay share a border so those east of 900 East on the Millcreek side can’t light fireworks while those on the Holladay side can. 

“Might be worth waiting another year to coordinate better next year,” he said, suggesting changes “shouldn’t be a flip of the coin each year” and more of a “slow boat turn rather than a speed boat turn.” 

Councilmember Emily Gray felt people would appreciate a nimble government that judges the situation each year. “If circumstances change, I’m more than happy to add restrictions next year.” 

Councilmember Drew Quinn added residents are perceptive. She said people reached out to her asking why no changes after positive water years. “I think people understand why no fireworks on a drought year, but when they see good water years and in areas with low risk, why not allow fireworks there?”

David Steffensen lives east of Highland Drive and came to a couple council meetings requesting restrictions be rolled back. 

“I just want to reiterate how much me and mine would like to enjoy the opportunity to light fireworks in Holladay again,” he told the council. “To enjoy that ability to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks. I just think they’re inseparable at this point.” 

Councilmember Matt Durham said he lives on a high fireworks street where the restriction ordinance is more of a joke. He preferred an approach that would focus enforcement on important areas.

“I’m not really comfortable with the idea of having this ordinance that is widely flouted and we don’t really do anything about,” he said. 

Mayor Rob Dahle felt most residents, including him, don’t like the fireworks and he would prefer to continue restrictions but it is hard to justify that it’s drought related. 

“I’d love to restrict them…but to continue banning under these circumstances is tough for me to support.” λ