Originally Published: February 20, 2014 6 a.m.
Arizona is suffering through one of its driest periods ever, with high temperatures that are setting or beating records.
Winter has brought nothing in the way of moisture, save a surprise storm late last year.
More than this is the fact that some areas of our state are more at risk of fires because of forests that continue to be more and more populated with homes. But, those of us who live in forested regions shouldn't be insensitive to our state's residents who live in the bone-dry desert. They, too, are at risk of wildfires. Yarnell is a perfect example of the devastation of fire, whether it is an act of nature or human-caused.
That is why we question anyone's thinking that fireworks are okay in the hands of the amateur, rather than left in controlled hands in a protected location on holidays, mainly the 4th of July.
This topic came up Tuesday during a meeting of the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors when the supervisors discussed state Rep. Karen Fann's proposed measure, House Bill 2224, which would prohibit sales of fireworks in unincorporated areas. As it is now, counties and municipalities can ban the use of fireworks but not the sale.
"My preference would have been to allow the municipalities to regulate the sale as well, but for the time being, we are starting with this to at least help the rural areas like Yavapai and Coconino forested areas," Fann told the supervisors.
Opponents are reportedly questioning why the bill targets fireworks and not barbecues and guns, and it was duly noted at the board meeting that the fireworks lobby in Maricopa and Pima counties is powerful, very likely because of manufacturing operations in proximity to them.
Regulating use of outdoor barbecues seems to be a lame excuse for lobbying against a bill such as Fann's. We know that target practice in arid areas is risky, but debating gun control versus fireworks seems nonsensical.
But back to HB2224 and why it warrants careful consideration before it gets tossed out of the hopper.
It simply makes no sense that fireworks vendors can sell their wares in places where people are prohibited from using them. We wonder at that every summer when tents go up in retail parking lots around town every 4th of July in Prescott. People can buy them but not set them off within city limits.
We endorse Fann's bill, even though it is a small step.
Fireworks are fine when professionals display them at special events. Otherwise they are dangerous, and any preventive measure that might curb their misuse is a good one.