It’s looking as if there will be a public fireworks display this year for Yuba City/Marysville residents. That’s good ... a traditional way for Americans to get together and “oooh” and “ahhh” and feel the pride. It hasn’t happened here for a lot of years.
Just as importantly, perhaps, is that there are folks, including firefighters, who believe that with a nicely appointed public fireworks display there will be fewer private families setting off their own, and there will be less temptation to smuggle in illegal mega-fireworks, which pose safety concerns over injury and fire.
We’ve got to admit, we’re a little gun shy nowadays. We enjoyed fireworks as kids; we still would enjoy them, probably, if we weren’t worried about burning down the place. There are parts of the community where the fireworks seem excessive and ongoing. When does an ember light a patch of grass that lights a redwood that sends up embers all over town?
A public display will probably be well-coordinated and monitored, with emergency services on hand in case there’s any sort of mishap. (When we know more about the public display, we’ll pass it along.)
We’re really to the point where we’re wondering if private fireworks have a place in the modern world. We’re not alone.
“We are very concerned about the hazards associated with fireworks, even safe and sane,” said Marysville Fire Chief Ron Karlen in a recent story. By “safe and sane” he’s referring to the only type of private fireworks that are now legal – fireworks that don’t fly through the air and/or explode. They’re the only type of fireworks that can legally be sold in California.
Bill Fuller, with the Yuba City Fire Department, said the department manages the number of fireworks booths operating in the city and will be limiting the number a bit more this year.
And that’s one of the sticking points for going even further with a fireworks ban ... so many nonprofits still operate stands and pull in major revenue from the sales of fireworks. And they do good things with that money; we don’t begrudge them of it. We’d just hope that they soon start searching for alternative fundraisers.
Still, the bigger issue is people smuggling in illegal fireworks.
A couple years ago, Yuba City enacted an ordinance allowing $1,000 citations to the person or social host responsible for use of illegal fireworks. Sutter County adopted the same ordinance. They’re out to enforce the law more than ever.
It takes a long time to change a tradition. Start working on it now. Enjoy the Fourth with fewer or no personal fireworks.
Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.