I love the display of fireworks managed by professionals as much as the next guy.
I don’t love the ridiculous situation in Idaho whereby illegal fireworks can be sold here and purchased by people who — wink, grin, wink — sign an affidavit promising they won’t use them in the state, especially near highly flammable foothills neighborhoods like our beloved Table Rock.
That’s why I support Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan and the backers of a bill that could be introduced next week in the Idaho Legislature designed to prevent Idaho retailers from selling any kind of fireworks that are illegal, and which could be set off in the state — including dangerous aerial fireworks.
For our Legislature to support the sale of something that is illegal and certainly used within our borders — and which is linked to the torching of 2,500 acres of foothills land — is just flat out crazy and irresponsible. It has been determined that the source of the Table Rock fire last June in Boise was illegal fireworks, which destroyed a home (it could have been worse) and cost taxpayers $341,000 to contain, according to Statesman reporter Ruth Brown.
Whatever revenue the state gains from sales of these illegal fireworks can’t be worth the threat and actual costs to fight these fires — or the potential for a negligence lawsuit. How can we take the posture of allowing “safe and sane” fireworks on the one hand, and allow the purchase of illegal fireworks while looking the other way?
Yes, I have always loved a good fireworks show carried out by certified practitioners. But I didn’t love it when the neighborhood kid launched a volley of illegal bottle rockets into our suburban Minneapolis neighborhood one year and one of them exploded under my 4-year-old son’s bare foot — prompting a Fourth of July detour to get medical assistance. That could easily happen to children here.
The Legislature needs to own up to this illegal fireworks loophole and take steps to close it.