Airway Heights council passes fireworks ordinance
Measure would allow fire chief to issue bans under specific conditions, doesn't take effect until July 2022
Last updated 7/5/2021 at 1:26pm
AIRWAY HEIGHTS – The city council held an emergency meeting at 5 p.m. on July 2 to discuss an ordinance regarding fireworks. The ordinance was adopted after the council voted to suspend the rules that would require multiple readings. Five council members voted to adopt it while councilman Larry Bowman abstained. The ordinance would allow the fire chief to enact a temporary ban on fireworks in conditions of extreme fire danger.
The discussion was prompted by the record heat wave and extreme fire conditions the area is currently experiencing. It will not go into effect for July 4, 2021, as according to state law, only the state fire marshal has the ability to enact such restrictions immediately. Jurisdictions can write more restrictive laws than the state, but must wait one year before those restrictions go into effect.
According to Mayor Sonny Weathers, “Airway Heights cannot enact a temporary ban no matter how prudent because there is no language in our ordinance to allow it.”
The city’s current ordinance allows for discharge of fireworks only on July 4 from 8 a.m. to midnight. Fireworks are only allowed on private property or commercial property with written permission from the landowners. Airway Heights is the last city in the county without a firework ban, and anyone from outside the city can drive over and set off fireworks if they follow rules.
According to Police Chief Brad Richmond, the police can write tickets for those in violation of the current rules, but they want to focus on education instead of enforcement. If they see fireworks being used outside of private property this July 4, they will ask people to move back to the private property. If necessary, they will write tickets.
If someone starts a fire, even if the fireworks were set off on private property, they are responsible for the damage they case. Extra police resources will be used for this July 4. According to Fire Chief Mitch Metzger, the assistant and deputy chiefs will receive at least 12 hours of overtime for their time on the holiday.
Riley Kankelberg can be reached at email@example.com.