First year of legalized fireworks sees no
major incidents within Fremont County.
On the occasion of the first official national celebration of Independence Day in 1801, President John Adams wrote to his wife, “It ought to be commemorated with pomp and parade, sports, guns, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward and forever more.”
With Iowa having recently joined most of the rest of the country in allowing the sale and use of fireworks, ending a 79-year prohibition, we got this down.
The sale of consumer fireworks is now legal throughout the state, though some communities restrict their use and the location of sales tents.
Exact numbers are not yet available, but the Iowa City Press-Citizen quoted one fireworks salesperson's description of sales there as “pretty crazy,” with her stand averaging a couple thousand dollars a day in June.
Hamburg does not allow sales or setting off fireworks in the town.
Sheriff Kevin Aistrope said there were no major problems or injuries involving fireworks in Fremont County this Independence Day.
“There were never any fires. Things worked pretty well,” he said.
He does think the June 1 to July 8 window when the use of fireworks is permitted in Iowa is an unnecessarily long time. But he received no complaints about fireworks being set off after the evening curfew.
It should be noted that fireworks are also legal to buy and to set off during a period of December and early January.
What about personal fireworks left over after the July 8 deadline?
“I would not store fireworks,” said Aistrope. “I don't like the idea of keeping them around.
That could cause problems. Kids could get into them. Fire could happen. They get unstable (over time).”
Aistrope says the best approach is, “Don't buy more (fireworks) than you'll use.”
He advises fireworks consumers to think of other people, for example, the elderly, who could be startled by the noise.
Veterans who suffer from PTSD might also be quite disturbed by fireworks explosions.
And dogs are often frightened by the sound of fireworks. One dog in Tabor was scared off and had not yet returned to its owner several days later.
Especially in larger cities, panicky dogs can become a serious problem. The San Diego Tribune reports that 71 scared or disoriented dogs left their homes because of Fourth of July fireworks. San Diego County animal shelters said they were still waiting for owners to retrieve them several days later.