The City Council and the fireworks ban

My wife pointed out the irony of the Bend City Council meeting tonight to present the proposed city fireworks ban, while at the same time this image appeared in today’s Bulletin:

Fireworks at the Les Schwab Amphitheater; © Bend Bulletin, 10-03-2007
Fireworks at the Les Schwab Amphitheater for the Pacific Amateur Golf Classic; photo copyright Rob Kerr and the Bulletin

More detail: The City Council is meeting tonight, open to the public at 7pm at City Hall (710 NW Wall St., downtown), and one of the items on their agenda is indeed a proposed ordinance banning all fireworks in the City of Bend. There is concern among some public officials over the fires that were started due to fireworks this year (I don’t have the exact number handy), both in terms of public safety and dollars spent in fighting these fires, and the solution is to adopt a general-purpose ban.

But come on. Banning all fireworks (except sparklers and snakes, and road flares unless said flare is used as intended during an emergency) is plain ridiculous—particularly when the ban extends to possession, sale and use. That’s right, under this ordinance, even simply possessing fireworks in the City of Bend makes you guilty of a Class A Civil Infraction.

Now, authorized fireworks displays—presumably like the yearly July 4th Pilot Butte show, and last night’s Pacific Amateur Golf Classic show—are exempt, so we wouldn’t miss out on the big show(s) each year. What’s ironic about this though is that almost every year the Butte catches fire during the show—which generally accounts for most of the yearly fire problems!

But really, banning all fireworks in the city is just not realistic—people will simply buy them elsewhere (the stand set up just outside city limits, anyone?) and set them off anyway. Enforcement will be next to impossible. And, a worse scenario is that the ban does work, and ends up pushing all the fireworks out of the city into the rural district—which as we all know, is a virtual tinderbox around here in summertime. The fire danger increases dramatically—and the municipal fire department doesn’t respond to fires in those rural areas. That wouldn’t be pretty.

You can read a summary of the issues here (PDF), and the proposed ordinance itself here (PDF) and make up your own mind. And I’m quite sure tonight’s City Council meeting will be entertaining.

5 thoughts on “The City Council and the fireworks ban

  1. they can ban them all they want. it won’t effect me or stop me from lighting my fare share on the 4th! screw the yuppie scum who want to turn this town into something its not! my advice to those who want a fireworks ban…. go back to where you came from or accept this town for what it is!

  2. Who the crap wants to ban fireworks? This is so lame. How exactly do we officially complain about this…

  3. I don’t want them to ban fireworks, just to enforce the state laws already in place with the illegal fireworks. As it stands right now, every year I dread the 4th because I fear somebody’s going to set my house on fire (I leave very close to Pilot Butte). If the current laws would actually be enforced, I’d sleep better. New laws aren’t going to help — if they can’t enforce them now, how are they going to enforce them if this goes into place?

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