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.