City Government

Firemen And Coppers Call For Fireworks Ban…FINALLY!

Some twelve years ago the GUARDIAN called for a fireworks ban, dubbing the July 4 incendiaries as “arson kits.”

Now after we have suffered the disastrous Table Rock fire in 2016, there is a bill before the legislature to ban fireworks. It was always with a wink and a nod that folks would purchase aerial rockets of all sorts and sign a waiver at the point of purchase promising to not use them in Idaho.

Here is what Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan is pushing at the current session of the Idaho Legislature.

Following the 2,500-acre Table Rock fire last June which was caused by illegal fireworks and cost taxpayers $341,000, Fire Chief Dennis Doan announced his plan to urge legislators to make it unlawful to purchase or possess illegal fireworks. Rep. Erpelding is sponsoring measures to draft a bill making illegal fireworks truly illegal.

“I am excited to support Rep. Erpelding (D) in his legislative efforts during the current legislative session to amend the statute to fix the loophole language. We were extremely fortunate no lives were lost in the Table Rock fire, and as wildfire season is quickly approaching, we believe it’s time to better protect Idaho citizens, their property, and our firefighters who risk their lives battling fires caused by illegal fireworks. It is not our intent to outlaw “safe and sane” fireworks, only aerial fireworks,” stated Chief Doan.

Fires caused by fireworks July 4 and July 5 increased from seven in 2015 to 17 in 2016, which included two homes lost.

Some notable endorsements for tighter fireworks laws include: Idaho Fire Chiefs Association, Ada County Sheriff Bartlett, Boise Police Chief Bill Bones, Lewiston Fire Chief Myklebust, Pocatello Fire Chief Gates, Coeur d’Alene Fire Chief Gabriel, Idaho Falls Fire Chief Hanneman, Meridian Police Chief Lavey, Meridian Fire Chief Niemeyer and Caldwell Fire Chief Wendelsdorf.

We endorse Doan and Rep. Erpelding for their efforts.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Why not outlaw all fireworks? When you talk to the firemen that I know just as many fires are started by safe and sane as by the illegal ones?

    Oh wait we can’t do that the city of Boise makes money off safe and sane…..

    Safe and Sane fireworks…. matches….Fires… Am I missing something?

  2. As much as I want to live in a society that maximizes freedom and minimizes laws, we are constantly reminded of those around us who do not have the common sense to provide for such personal freedom. While an accident with fireworks can happen to anyone and living in a risk free society would be boring, shooting fireworks in the dry foothills during the hot summer lacks any common sense and is not an isolated incident.

    In the spirit of one of Trump’s good ideas, with each new regulation, two should be taken off the books, I would like to propose with the ban on certain fireworks the following two laws be repealed:

    Open Container Laws: As a society we do not/should not fear someone having a beer at the park, what we do not want is public intoxication, being drunk and disorderly, or being lewd in public, all for which there other laws for sufficient enforcement. The hypocrisy that open containers are ok during a football game but not basketball, or if you have an event and buy a permit like Jaialdi. Funny how buying a permit from the government for a one-time exception happens to make something ok.

    Nudity and Alcohol: As we saw with the ridiculous ISP raid on the movie theater that sells beer while showing the movie 50 Shades, ISP seems to enjoy playing the moral police. They are missing their calling and should join the Saudi Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice and walk around with canes and beat people not obeying their version of mortality. While specifically this issue is not a high priority for me or most people, it is the concept of government imposed morality and behavior control of its citizens, even when such citizens are consenting adults on private property.

  3. Let’s BAN lighters, toilet paper in the foothills, and cigarettes too.
    While Trump is needlessly BANNING groups of people, we might as well just get on the BAN-wagon. 🙂

    Can’t legislate against stupidity.
    The North Idaho legislators always prove that point.

    “urge legislators to make it unlawful to purchase or possess illegal fireworks” – they’re not illegal, if one can currently purchase them.

    Should it be “possess [aerial] fireworks”?

  4. No! No to Nanny State Liberalism
    Feb 2, 2017, 10:53 am

    *I disagree with a fireworks ban.
    *A ban smacks of police state liberalism.
    *Banning guns accomplishes nothing except limiting the rights of the law abiding. This topic is no different.
    *Moreover, the most destructive fires we’ve seen were no accident and not fireworks.
    *I do support a ban on stupid people and criminality. Let us limit the rights of the guilty before giving up our own.

    **Our fire department is very top heavy and very overpaid. Let us solve that problem.

  5. kudos on jj’s plus one, minus two, particularly those 2 suggestions to eliminate.

    Also, when pointing out “those around us who do not have the common sense to provide for such personal freedom” let’s include the property owners lacking common sense to make their OWN defensible space.

    If a home is in the urban interface, the property owner has to EXPECT a fire coming through their area. It is THEIR responsibility and should be their cost to reduce or eliminate that risk- not mine, not the fire chiefs, not the Boise Council, not the state legislature.

  6. As a recall a ban on the possession of illegal fireworks is not an oxymoron but a loop hole in the law that allows someone to purchase in Idaho, fireworks that are illegal to use in Idaho, and at the time of purchase the buyer must sign a paper saying they intend to take the fireworks out of Idaho before using them.

    Has been 10 years since I bought such fireworks but I remember signing the disclaimer.

  7. Mr. Guardian – the proposed law is common-sense, that’s for sure! But… the miscreants are already law-breakers, so in reality there’s no reason to expect that yet another law will change much. (Except possibly make it a bit more difficult to get unsafe/insane fireworks.) Every 4th of July and New Years, the acrid smoke hangs heavy in my neighborhood as a result of normally-law-abiding folk practicing a bit of civil disobedience.

    Full disclosure… I grew up in one of the early foothills neighborhoods, surrounded by sagebrush and cheat grass. I also had a bit of “pyromaniac” in me… as do lots of young adolescent boys, I’ve observed. And – the “safe and sane” stands came into existince during my adolescence. (You could almost call it LITERALLY a “powder keg.”) It is only by the grace of God that I didn’t end up torching the foothills, and that I still have all ten fingers and both eyes! (It’s not because of common sense… that’s for sure!)

    If a new law will make everybody feel better, by all means pass it! (Maybe put “firing tracer bullets” in there, too!)

    “They can have my M-80s when they pry them from my lacerated, smoking, dead fingers!” (-;

    EDITOR NOTE–You actually make the point on my behalf. It isn’t the law that works, it’s the denial of access to the fireworks. In my opinion those ARSON KITS also include the S&S stuff as well. In Vietnam they (the communist gov’t.) outlawed fireworks and now people play RECORDED versions of firecrackers for their Tet (lunar new year) celebrations.

  8. Mr Gaurdian, speaking of Vietnam, have you read this book?

    EDITOR NOTE–Anyone who makes a purchase can get me to sign it with just a note in the contact section. Thanks for the plug JJ, hope you enjoy it.

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