Print Town Council to debate new fireworks law
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 00:09


A law signed in May that will allow the sale of different types of fireworks that were previously banned in Arizona is set to take effect Wednesday, Dec. 1, and it has several communities in tree-lined Northern Arizona concerned.

The law will allow the sale of fireworks like sparklers, spinners and cone fountains. Several communities in the region have already looked at efforts to institute municipal bans on the new fireworks, citing concerns over increased potential for injury and a danger of fire in one of the driest parts of the country.

Supporters of the bill argue that it lifts unnecessary restrictions on personal freedom. Other critics have argued that while lifting the ban may be workable for the concrete Valley of the Sun, it’s a different ball game in Northern Arizona.

Camp Verde hasn’t addressed the issue yet, but the town wants to get the public’s feelings on the matter before moving ahead with any concrete action one way or the other.

Town Manager Russ Martin reported earlier this month that the Camp Verde Town Council will be holding a special work session in January to discuss the issue and determine what direction it wants to take.

Martin said the meeting will include a presentation from the Camp Verde Fire District, which the council will take into consideration with public opinion. Naturally, Martin said the public is strongly encouraged to attend.

Camp Verde Fire District Spokeswoman Barbara Rice said that it was important the members of the district have a policy that’s right for them.

“From an emergency services standpoint, an all-out ban would be great,” Rice said. “But if we don’t go for the ban, we need to look at the needs of the district from a regulatory standpoint.”

Camp Verde Town Council will seek input from the community at its tentatively scheduled Wednesday, Jan. 12, work session about the specifics in a new fireworks ordinance. Rice suggested that if the town decides to let the fireworks be sold, then a large public education campaign would be in order so people could learn about safety and what types of fireworks are still illegal in spite of the lifted ban.

Rice said she’s seen different types of fireworks-related problems. When she worked in Oregon, Rice said it was her experience that when some fireworks were legal, it was more common to see people using still-illegal fireworks more often.

Regardless of what the town does, fireworks of all types will be illegal to use when Yavapai County has a fire ban in effect, Rice said.

“We adopt the same rules as the county,” Rice said. “No flame means no fireworks.”

In the meantime, Rice said that the district and town would work together to find what’s going to be best for the community.

“We’ll find what works and what doesn’t,” Rice said. “We’d like to work with all the stakeholders here.”

The meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 12.