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Coconino County Wants to Control Sale of Consumer Fireworks

April 23
16:47 2014

With fire danger in Northern Arizona already high, Coconino County leaders want the Governor to sign a bill that gives counties more control over the sale and use of consumer fireworks. Extremely dry conditions and high winds raise concerns about wildfires this year, and the availability of fireworks makes it worse.

Fireworks are banned on all national park lands. Fireworks are always prohibited in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, including everything on and around Lake Powell. But this new bill could expand restrictions on fireworks to help protect communities as well during periods of high fire danger.

fireworks standSenate Bill 1158 grants counties the ability to regulate the sale and use of consumer fireworks during periods of high fire danger, specifically during Federal Stage One fire restrictions. If signed into law, SB 1158 would allow counties with populations less than 500,000 to regulate the sale of consumer fireworks. The current statute only allows counties to regulate the use of fireworks during a reasonable risk of wildfire.

The conditions in our forests are dire. Throughout Northern Arizona we’ve had one of the driest winters on record and our dry conditions are expected to continue into summer. By signing this bill into law, Gov. Brewer can give counties such as ours the tools we need to protect our communities from the threat of wildfire.”–Vice-Chairman Mandy Metzger, Coconino County Board of Supervisors

In addition to increasing fire danger, the current law causes confusion for consumers. They can buy fireworks but can’t use them when fire restrictions are in effect.

Up until a few years ago, fireworks were illegal in Arizona. Then a 2010 law lifted the ban, and the sale and use of fireworks became legal throughout the state.

We are all well aware of the firsthand devastation caused by catastrophic forest fires. A permissible consumer firework, such as a sparkler, can burn up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and a single spark from these simplest of fireworks can impact public safety and cost millions of dollars should a wildfire break out.”–Supervisor Mandy Metzger

The 2010 Schultz Fire charred 15,000 acres north of Flagstaff, costing taxpayers over $150 million. That figure continues to grow as government agencies invest million of dollars in projects to mitigate flooding that flows from the burn area that flows into downhill neighborhoods.

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