Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

It seems that every year after the 4th of July we look at the fireworks issue. This year, per usual, it sounded like a war zone in my neighborhood…all due to 3 homes, habitual violators. In our neighborhood we all know who they are. The problem continues to be, even after the police are called, they must see the act. That’s a very difficult regulation for all…neighbors and police.

I live in an area of Glendale that is zoned suburban and has large lots. There is a lot of livestock in this area from sheep, goats, chickens to horses. In addition, so many of us have pets, usually cats or dogs. These animals whether domestic or livestock react, often negatively, to the use of aerial fireworks.

The State of Arizona has taken away cities’ and county’s abilities to regulate fireworks. The state has decided which fireworks are legal and time of the year when they may be used.

The state says these are permissible: Ground and handheld sparkling devices.

  • Cylindrical fountains.
  • Cone fountains.
  • Illuminating torches.
  • Ground spinners.
  • Flitter sparklers.
  • Toy smoke devices.
  • Wire sparklers or dipped sticks.
  • Multiple tube ground and handheld sparkling devices, cylindrical fountains, cone fountains and illuminating torches manufactured in accordance with section 3.5 of the APA 87 1.
  • Includes, in a county with a population of more than five hundred thousand persons, adult snappers. For the purposes of this subdivision, “adult snapper” means a device that consists of a paper wrapped or plastic tube that does not contain a fuse and produces a single report and meets all applicable requirements for fuseless firecrackers as defined by the consumer product safety commission and the American fireworks safety laboratory.
  • The sale and use of novelties known as snappers (pop-its), party poppers, glow worms, snakes, toy smoke devices and sparklers are permitted at all times.

Anything that is designed or intended to rise into the air and explode or to detonate in the air or to fly above the ground, including firework items defined by the APA 87 1 and known as firecrackers, bottle rockets, sky rockets, missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, torpedoes, roman candles, mine devices, shell devices and aerial shell kits or reloadable tubes are not legal.

The state also determines when fireworks can be used:

  • May 4 – May 6 which is a period of 2 days celebrating Cinco de Mayo
  • June 24 – July 6 which is a period of 13 days celebrating the 4th of July
  • December 24 — January 3 which is a period of 11 days celebrating New Year’s Day

There is no rhyme or reason to the length of permissible number of days for each celebration. Why 2 days for Cinco de Mayo, 13 days for the 4th of July and 11 days for New Year’s Eve? It makes no sense and is confusing to the general public.

 I am going to offer a Council Item of Special Interest (CIOSI) asking city council to approve moving forward with offering state legislation limiting the number of days for fireworks use to 2 days for each event period, the day before and the day of, the holiday. I know this does not address the central issue which is the use of illegal, aerial fireworks but it is yet another attempt to rein in the use of fireworks.

Last year I introduced a CIOSI which city council approved, to limit the hours during which fireworks can be used during the event periods. I am pleased to report that prohibited hours were approved by the state legislature and signed by Governor Ducey. The law goes into effect statewide in August and allows cities and counties to adopt these hours of prohibition. In August I will also introduce a CIOSI asking city council to adopt the state approved hours of prohibition. It allows cities and counties to prohibit the use of fireworks during all allowable event periods between the hours of 11 PM and 8 AM but on July 4th Eve and New Year’s Eve, fireworks can be used until 1 AM. So, on those two Eves fireworks are prohibited from 1 AM to 8 AM.

Even with these measures aerial fireworks will never go away. Every society has thoughtless individuals. There will always be those who break any law, even on the use of fireworks. I, personally, don’t want to see all fireworks banned. Frankly, their use to celebrate important events in the life of our country is a part of our culture. I remember using sparklers to celebrate the 4th of July and then going with my family to see the town fireworks display when I was a kid. It’s a part of who we are. It’s a ritual that recognizes important milestones in our country’s history. Goodness knows, we need to celebrate and to save those milestones.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      


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