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Utah gov.: Fireworks pose wildfire risks

SALT LAKE CITY, July 18 (UPI) -- Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. has called on local officials in the state to ban personal use of fireworks due to the risk of wildfires.

"With our state already coping with unprecedented loss of life and property due to record wildfires, extraordinary measures are called for," Huntsman said in a news release. "We must work together to protect life and property in these unusual circumstances."

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The governor's declaration was backed up by the Utah Division of Air Quality, the Deseret Morning News reported Wednesday.

The division said in a news release that fireworks are a hazard "not only because of wildland fire dangers but also because fireworks pump fine-particulate pollution in the air, prompting an unhealthy spike in air pollution that makes it difficult for people to breathe."

"Traditionally, the air monitors record extremely high concentrations of fine particulates associated with fireworks displays after the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day," said Cheryl Heying, director of the Division of Air Quality. "Those most impacted by the unhealthy air pollution are young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with respiratory problems."

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