Ogden’s ban seemed to work – fireworks calls went down, the air stayed cleaner | Government
OGDEN – Residents of the Wasatch front, including Ogden and the rest of Weber County, appeared to comply with leaders’ calls to forgo the use of fireworks on July 4.
Air pollution levels in Weber, Salt Lake and Utah counties were down on Independence Day last Sunday from levels seen in previous years. Likewise, the number of fires reported in Ogden between last Friday and Monday dropped significantly compared to last year. In the meantime, a Weber County animal control official has provided figures indicating that the dogs suffered less trauma from the hits and bursts of the fireworks.
Calls by Gov. Spencer Cox and others to cut down on fireworks are being used to guard against the possibility of a fire given the number of the ongoing drought in decline, officials suspect. The leaders of Ogden, Washington Terrace and North Ogden have implemented bans or partial bans on the use of fireworks, also taking into account the trend here.
“The community has done a fantastic job respecting the ban and the rules,” said Mike Slater, spokesperson for the Ogden Fire Department. There have been only two reports of fires caused by fireworks between last Friday and Sunday, both extinguished before firefighters arrived at the scene. In previous years, he said, the ministry received an average of 20 such calls per day on and around Independence Day.
Likewise, the data of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality‘s Air Quality Division, shows that the sky was much cleaner. PM 2.5 levels – particles like car exhaust and smoke from fireworks and forest fires measuring 2.5 microns or less in width – have not completely disappeared. But the levels “were certainly lower than what we’ve seen in a typical year,” said Bryce Bird, director of the Air Quality Division.
In fact, the average 24-hour PM 2.5 level in Weber County air on Sunday, July 4 was 11.4 micrograms per cubic meter. That’s down from the five-year average between 2016 and 2020 of 42.5 micrograms per cubic meter, according to data from the Division of Air Quality. The Sunday average level for Utah County was 12.2 micrograms per cubic meter, down from the five-year average of 29.84 micrograms, while the count on Independence Day in the county of Salt Lake was 10.1 micrograms, compared to 33.78 micrograms.
The Davis County average for Sunday was 16.2 micrograms, up slightly from the average of 15.98 micrograms for the 2016-2020 period.
Calls and warrants to reduce the use of fireworks “have made a difference,” Bird said. “Anything that reduces exposure to pollution helps.”
Brush trucks from the Ogden Fire Department crisscrossed the city streets over the weekend to visually remind the public of the fireworks ban and be ready should a fire start, a Slater said. He thanked the community for generally respecting the ban.
Captain Brian Eynon of the Ogden Police Department said the weekend “went off without incident” regarding the fireworks related issues. He said preliminary information shows police have issued at least three citations related to the use of fireworks, but the weekend’s data and reports have yet to be fully processed.
For the record, he said, “it seemed like activity was lower this year compared to last year.”
Amparo Gutierrez, supervisor at the Weber County Animal Shelter, said there was only one stray dog his office had to help over the weekend, up from seven to ten around the same time last year. She attributed the reduction to the fireworks ban in Ogden and the decline in overall use in Weber County.
The fireworks scare the dogs, causing anxiety. “They’re literally going to break down a door to get away from what’s causing this,” she said, usually leading to an increase in the number of creatures roaming the streets when July 4th rolls around.