Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Chief warns against fireworks

Fire danger is high


With the Fourth of July just around the corner, firefighters want to again warn residents not to shoot off fireworks within city limits.

First off -- it is still illegal to do so. Secondly, conditions are just too dry.

Luke Benson, a detective with the Green River Police Department, said residents who are caught shooting off fireworks within city limits could be charged with a $225 fine. If their fireworks cause property damage, such as a fire, they could also face restitution charges as well.

Mike Liberty, Interim Green River Fire Department Chief, said the wet season happened early this year and is opposite of what the city is experiencing now, which are hot, dry conditions.

“Just because it’s green, doesn’t mean it’s not going to burn,” Liberty said. “It’s actually pretty dry out there believe it or not.”

The weather the area has experienced recently is only drying everything out. With the cool, wet spring plants took off and grew, which was good until it got dry. Now, it is only going to act as more fuel for a future fire.

Liberty wanted to let residents know all fireworks are illegal within city limits, including sparklers. He said sparklers, which are usually handed out to children, can have a flame that reaches up to 1,200 degrees. Sparklers can easily start a fire or worse.

“That’s the thing with sparklers, kids can easily get burned,” Liberty said.

Rather than setting off their own fireworks, residents are encouraged to take an alternative approach.

“Don’t shoot off fireworks. Enjoy the ones the city has,” Liberty said.

The city’s fireworks will once again be shot from the public works building over the sewer ponds at 10 p.m., July 4.

City Administrator Reed Clevenger said in an effort to reduce expenses, the city cut the fireworks budget to $10,000. This is about half of what the fireworks’ budget was last year. This will shorten the length of the fireworks show from around 20 minutes to 12 minutes this year.

However, Clevenger said the shell count per minute is higher than last year’s shell count per minute so it should make for a good show. He said the city will really get a lot of bang for its buck this year.

Liberty said residents can easily see the fireworks from Veteran’s Park, Stratton-Myers Park or the rodeo arena.

As usual, he and other firefighters will be standing by at Green River Fire Station No. 2 in case they get called to a fire.

“I’ve never had the luxury of being anywhere else, but at the fire station,” Liberty said.

However, he said they could see the fireworks from the station.

The GRFD and Green River Police Department tend to look at the Fourth of July differently. For most, it’s a time for celebration, for them, it’s a time for worry.

“It’s not near as much fun for us,” Liberty said.

The firefighters respond to fire calls most of the night. However, he wanted to encourage people who illegally shot off fireworks and started a fire to report the fire immediately. The longer someone waits to report a fire, the more time it has to spread and it will take even longer for firefighters to get the fire under control, contain it and put it out. Due to the mountainous area, it can take the fire department a while for firefighters to even drive to a fire.

Benson said officers tend to give out a lot of warning, but those can turn into citations if a resident has to be warned more than once.


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