June 14, 2007

Lassen County CA Fire Dept. proposes ban on all safe and sane fireworks

Bans are becoming the norm this year.

Fire Dept. proposes ban on all safe and sane fireworks
Posted on Tuesday, June 12 @ 10:20:55 PDT
Lassen County News

Headline June 12, 2007 — Other than on the Fourth of July, the use of fireworks within Susanville’s city limits may become an outlawed activity.

That’s because the Susanville Fire Department proposed a ban on all safe and sane fireworks sold within Lassen County at the regular city council meeting on Wednesday, June 6.

Fire Chief Stu Ratner explained that he felt it was in the best interest of the city to consider the impact sales of fireworks might have on the area, considering the unseasonably warm winter and high fire danger.

As he addressed the city council, Ratner explained some facts to the city council regarding the current weather conditions around the county.

“Presently there exists in the city of Susanville and throughout the region a level of humidity and extreme dry conditions,” Ratner said. “Fire season can typically last until Oct. 31, and this year promises to be one of the driest in recent years.”

Ratner also explained the number of people bringing illegal fireworks into Lassen County has increased. He went on to say in recent years fires have been caused by both illegal and safe and sane fireworks. He said that in the last couple of years, the level of illegal fireworks in the county has increased so much “You could probably see a better show in the Wal-Mart parking lot than you can at the fairgrounds.”

Based on SFD’s fire reports, Ratner suggested it might be in the best interest for the city to ban the sales and use of all fireworks in the city, except for the above ground display at the Lassen County Fairgrounds on July 4.

Ratner said he understands banning fireworks would make a lot of people very unhappy. However he explained that taking measures to prevent fires in order to help preserve the wellbeing of as many people as possible was the fire department’s responsibility.

Ratner went further by requesting that all burning within the city limits stop as of July 1, also due mainly to the dry weather conditions. He said because volunteerism isn’t what it used to be, the staffing at the fire department is low, and without the proper number of people to help control average usage of fireworks, it could look like a war zone around the city.

People in attendance at the city council meeting voiced concern over why this course of action wasn’t talked about sooner. Because of what the council considered uncertainty toward fire danger, the council continued the issue to the next meeting, so more research could be conducted to verify the potential danger of unchecked fireworks usage.

The ban is aimed primarily at safe and sane fireworks, as the majority of the people present at the meeting agreed on the difficulty of monitoring the trafficking of illegal fireworks into and out of the area.

The council meets again at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20 at City Hall on North Lassen Street.

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