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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
8:58 AM Fri, Sept. 21st

Editorial: Allowing fireworks sales invites disaster

We all saw this coming: fireworks of all kinds have been banned from use in Yavapai County as of this past week.

That is until further notice.

Meanwhile, continuing to burn is the Gladiator (Crown King) Fire, which has torched five buildings and more than 16,000 acres of forest land, since Mother's Day, May 13, just south of Prescott. That same week was the 10th anniversary of the Indian Fire, which burned more than 1,300 acres and seven structures on Prescott's southwest side in 2002.

Did these fires start because of fireworks? No, but red-flag warnings because of high winds and low humidity have been commonplace this past week on word from the National Weather Service.

Couple this with the fact that vendors still are legally allowed to sell fireworks of all kinds, including sparklers, cylinder and cone "fountains," torches, illuminating wheels, ground spinners, toy smoke devices, and pyrotechnic fireworks - essentially, every kind of consumer firework.

And "every kind of consumer firework" is banned from use.

The people who will be buying fireworks from these vendors likely will not realize this: You cannot light them anywhere locally. That would be anywhere, because of fire bans - permanent or temporary - in all of Yavapai County, all fire districts and on the forests or public lands.

This confusion is thanks to the state Legislature, which approved sale of fireworks in 2010, and did not approve a bill this session by Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, that would have allowed local governments in counties with certain populations to ban the sale of fireworks, in addition to banning their use. Amid opposition she even scaled it back to be for only Yavapai and Coconino counties. No dice.

Why allow the sale of fireworks when people cannot use them? That is like giving a bottle of whiskey to an alcoholic and trusting them to not take a drink.

Lawmakers, sit up and take notice. You are tempting fate. The voting public will not forget the risk to which you are exposing us - your constituents.