Our view: Fireworks rules need consistency


In what may seem schizophrenic from our editorial last week, we believe the city needs to be clear in how it handles fireworks-related issues.

Last week, we advocated for a set area, the Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport in our example, free of debris where people could light fireworks in a controlled setting with limited supervision by fire fighters and police officers. Anyone acting like a jackass with their fireworks would get a citation from the officer and the firefighters would be on hand to put out any fires that do start. We think this idea could work and a fee could be charged to cover the cost of the officers and firefighters.

What isn’t working is how the city is treating the issue now. Anyone down at Veterans Park Tuesday night would have noticed people waving sparklers around or lighting what quickly became dazzling geysers of multicolored sparks in and around the ball fields.

Two uniformed police officers stood by, watching everyone and generally making sure people didn’t do anything too stupid. That’s fine until you take the city’s official statement on Facebook into account.

“As a reminder, city ordinance prohibits using fireworks within city limits. In the interest of public safety, this ordinance is strictly enforced.”

If this ordinance were strictly enforced, those officers would have been issuing warnings and citations to everyone in the park just thinking about letting an eight-year-old run around with a lit sparkler. The problem is this sort of fireworks management is problematic in that it promotes an idea that certain types of fireworks are OK, despite the ordinance not excluding any type of firework from its ban.

Given the natural tendency to push things as far as possible, it’s only a matter of time before someone accidentally fires a mortar shell into their neighbor’s tree. If certain fireworks will be tolerated, the Green River City Council should amend the ordinance to allow those exceptions. We’re sure the Green River Fire Department wouldn’t be happy with that kind of development and such action may change the city’s Insurance Service Office fire rating, but if certain uses won’t attract attention from the police, it should be noted in the ordinance.

The city should adopt a policy that doesn’t state one stance on paper while apparently enforcing a different policy.

A uniform approach to fireworks within the city limits would benefit everyone, regardless of how it would be done.


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