Wednesday, October 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Drought won’t stop fireworks in dry western states

Fireworks Drought

In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, workers with Western Enterprises Inc. prepare a row of fireworks mortar tubes at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, N.M., for the city's annual Fourth of July festival. Officials in New Mexico and other drought-stricken states in the West are urging residents to attend public fireworks displays rather than light their own fireworks due to dry conditions and high fire danger. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

By
From page A8 | July 04, 2014 |

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Arizona’s largest city has gone four months without any measurable rain, and neighboring New Mexico is in the midst of four years of severe drought.

But you’ll still see and hear fireworks sparkle and pop during the days around July 4, despite the dangerously high threat of wildfires.

While some places in the West ban fireworks altogether, or greatly limit what you can light off when conditions are ripe for fire, other states are going in the opposite direction.

Arizona actually loosened its restrictions this year and is now allowing residents of the two most populated cities to set off fireworks in the days around Independence Day, and an effort by the New Mexico governor to impose tougher rules during dry times has repeatedly fallen on deaf ears in the Legislature.

Some lawmakers chalk it up to statehouse politics, while others say it’s politicians’ reluctance to impose more regulations and take away the cherished tradition of setting off fireworks, even in severe droughts.

Phil Griego, a northern New Mexico rancher and a Democratic state senator, said the pastures around his village are so dry that the grass crunches under the hooves of horses and cattle when ranchers move the animals from one field to the next.

Griego tried during this year’s legislative session to pass a measure that would have updated New Mexico’s fireworks laws to give cities and counties more authority to ban fireworks when fire danger is high. Political wrangling stalled the measure in the Democrat-controlled Senate despite bipartisan support from lawmakers, fire chiefs around the state and Republican Gov. Susan Martinez, who has been pushing since 2011 for changes to the law.

“This is critical because I don’t think this drought and this situation we’re in right now is going to pass any time soon,” Griego said. “For this year, it’s done and over, but we’ve got to start working on next year. We’ve got to have protections. Look at the fires that are taking place now with just lightning strikes.”

Arizona began allowing the sale and use of certain fireworks in 2010. This year, the state updated its laws to prohibit cities in Maricopa and Pima counties — which include Phoenix and Tucson — from banning the use of fireworks around the July 4 holiday. Previously, some cities in the area had banned fireworks, while others didn’t, resulting in much confusion.

The Phoenix Fire Department is placing trucks in strategic places around town so crews can respond to brush fires within minutes. City employees will also be monitoring popular hiking trails, looking for anyone trying to set off illegal fireworks.

“We’re trying to keep control on it,” said Glenn D’Auria, president of the Arizona Fire Marshals Association and a Tucson fire inspector. “It’s new for us. It’s not like back East where people grew up with it. It’s a new toy to play with out here.”

In Texas, legislation to give the state fire marshal the power to enforce stricter rules didn’t get far during the last session partly due to the lack of appetite among some lawmakers for imposing more regulations on small businesses.

Some places in the West do restrict fireworks heavily. In Utah, more than 50 cities and towns have imposed additional restrictions this year due to the fire danger. Some municipalities have banned all fireworks in city limits, while several have designated safe areas near fire departments or parking lots from which to light fireworks.

Utah lawmakers this year passed a measure giving counties the authority to restrict fireworks in unincorporated areas.

In California, not many cities allow for the sale and use of legal fireworks. An open burn ban began this week for millions of acres managed by California’s state forestry division. The agency said it has zero tolerance for illegal fireworks and will be patrolling over the holiday weekend given the drought emergency.

The same goes for Washington, where fireworks are banned in all of the biggest cities and in many other places. People in Seattle are prohibited from setting off fireworks within city limit on the Fourth of July or any other time.

From California and Arizona to New Mexico and Oklahoma, fire officials and elected leaders are encouraging people to attend professional fireworks shows instead of lighting fountains in their neighborhoods.

At a barren lot on the edge of Albuquerque, a team of pyro-experts with Western Enterprises Inc. was busy Wednesday dropping hundreds of shells into carefully aligned and wired launching tubes for the city’s annual fireworks show. Thousands of people were expected to attend.

Across town, Nathan Farmer was setting up dozens of boxed sets of fireworks at his roadside stand. Last summer, when the drought reached unprecedented levels in New Mexico, sales were down but he’s hopeful his sparklers and fountains sell this year.

Farmer said concerned citizens have in the past called the police on him, saying he shouldn’t be selling fireworks given the threat of wildfire.

Fireworks are like anything else in life, he said.

“If you give a person some money, a gun, a car or alcohol, it’s up to that person to be responsible with it,” he said.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Crime key topic again at Fairfield candidates night

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 42 Comments | Gallery

 
Dixon corn maze breaks own world record

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A2, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Families Helping Families preps for holidays

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Charity Tree Auction application deadline nears

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Tots can trick-or-treat at Solano Town Center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Car washes raising money to fight breast cancer

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield Police Department promotes 2, honors 1

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
2 new challenges part of 2014 Solano Turkey Trot

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
PAL center seeks volunteers

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Solano names new First 5 director

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
$1.4M land sale by Fairfield gets OK

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Action, thriller movies headed to box office

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

FBI: Denver girls may have tried to join jihadis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

 
IS fighters seize weapons cache meant for Kurds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Assad pursues withering campaign against rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
7 arrested in Oakland raid on Black Muslim Temple

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Stinky seaweed piling up at upscale Laguna Beach

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
California man goes missing during road trip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

2nd guilty plea in California tainted beef case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Golden Gate Bridge officials float sidewalk toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

5 Jonestown victims buried in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
New rules adopted in hopes of spurring home loans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Pakistani Nobel laureate honored in Philadelphia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Cadaver dog searches in suspected serial killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Schools scoured in search for ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

AP-GfK Poll: Most expect GOP victory in November

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Freed Vietnamese dissident travels to US: official

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

North Korea frees US man; 2 more still detained

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Brown meets with health care experts about Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

US expands Ebola checks; Rwanda to check Americans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
WHO: Ebola vaccine trials in W. Africa in January

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoons: Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Spering kept youth league going

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 15 Comments

Day, Blankenchip good for respective cities

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 6 Comments

 
‘Misleading’ mailer sent to residents

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

Expect voter participation to drop

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11, 12 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

 
Is it OK for a business to use its contacts to raise money for a charity?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

Hummus and chocolate together? Deliciously so!

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Easy slow cooker chili that lives up to the hype

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Roasted beets can brighten up any holiday table

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
‘S.H.I.E.L.D’ fans push for Coulson/May romance

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

From Kors to DVF, fashion mourns de la Renta

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Argentina demands ‘Top Gear’ apology from BBC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Local report: Vikings earn 3-0 SCAC volleyball win over Wolves

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
SJS releases season’s first wins list

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Bumgarner, Giants stop Royals 7-1 in Series opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bruins hold off Sharks to win 5-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Fighters suing Mayweather over Vegas cable TV bout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers lose center Daniel Kilgore, needs surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Raiders plagued by 3rd-down defensive woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

For a young Mexican golf star, seeing helps him believe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Shaw shoulders blame for Stanford’s slide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Newman dodges penalty for Talladega inspection

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Logano: No worries about retaliation from Patrick

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

WS Game 2 starters Ventura, Peavy study in contrasts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Hats off! Royals get old-timey with tip o’ the hat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

KC, San Fran mayors announce World Series wager

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3, 4 Comments

 
Ezeli returns as Warriors beat Clippers 125-107

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Buster’s back: Posey tries to add 3rd Series ring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
AP sources: Rice’s appeal hearing set for Nov. 5-6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Kings GM: NHL should educate after Voynov’s arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Broncos are still No. 1 in AP Pro32 rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius gets 5 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Business

China economy grows at slowest pace in 5 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Google’s streaming music service adds mood to mix

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

5 problems McDonald’s is facing in the US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
New efforts to ban tobacco farm child labor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Total CEO killed in Moscow runway crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

Rufina Ferrer Levengood

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6