Several States Mandate a Fourth Without Fireworks

July 02, 2008 08:02 AM
by Erin Harris
Drought, wildfires, and a shortage of supplies bring a halt to many fireworks displays this Fourth of July.

30-Second Summary

Due to an ongoing drought in the southeast and wildfires that have ripped through California and Florida, many states have imposed bans on setting off fireworks this Fourth of July.

“What goes up—like fireworks—must come down, and authorities can’t take a chance that that will be in tinder-dry forests or brushlands,” MSNBC reports.

Texas has enforced a $500 fine for setting off fireworks this season and several states, including North Carolina, Oregon, and Utah, have followed suit by declaring their own bans.
Everyone is feeling the effects, from local communities to city officials who orchestrate grand annual displays to rake in holiday profits.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urged residents not to use fireworks after an unusually high number of wildfires ravaged the state, but he left local jurisdictions to implement their own restrictions. Many Californians aren’t willing to give up the tradition and continue to stock up on sparklers and firecrackers, saying that a ban would be “imposing on our freedoms.”

Weather conditions aren’t the only factor to blame for a lack of explosive festivities this year. In February 2008, Yuetong Fireworks in South China, which produces about 90 percent of the U.S. supply, suffered a massive explosion that destroyed 20 warehouses. The company has halted most of its exports, leaving U.S. sellers with limited supplies and prices that have, well, sky-rocketed.

Even if your town enforces a ban, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday without fireworks. One California newspaper suggests activities that don’t revolve around pyrotechnics.

Headline Link: ‘Rockets’ red glare to dim this July 4’

Background: Fires, droughts, and an explosion

Opinion & Analysis: The right to light up

References: Safety tips and substitutes


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