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.

Every year I write about fireworks and their abuse, not only in Glendale but all over the Valley.

Don’t get me wrong. I love fireworks shows hosted by cities and other major entities. The half hour displays, commemorating our Independence are spectacular and really symbolize “the bombs bursting in air.”

The first question to be asked is why is it necessary to shoot off July 4th fireworks over a ten-day period granted by the Arizona legislature? Since the legislature has preempted cities from reigning this time in, we are stuck. There is, to my mind, one person in the State Legislature responsible for the state’s unrealistic fireworks legislation and that is Tom Gowan. In addition to being a state legislator, Mr. Gowan also happens to work in the fireworks industry. Hmmm…

On social media there are scads of videos of drone flights over cities on the 4th showing a literal haze of smoke hovering over cities and flashes of light looking as if the city were being carpet bombed. Then there are the videos showing people lighting off aerial fireworks only to have a spark set off their entire cache causing people to run in fear of their very lives. These incidents often result in injuries, especially to children.

Gone are the days of the 1940s and 1950s, when neighborhood families would gather, and the children would run around with sparklers in hand. No aerials. I contend fireworks have become far more powerful over the years. When illegal aerials are set off, they truly sound like bombs.

I often hear the phrase from constituents that their neighborhood is like a “war zone.”

My greatest concern is not only the “war zone” atmosphere but the effect on pets and livestock. I live in an area of large, suburban lots. There are chickens, goats, and horses in my neighborhood. The effect on livestock is traumatic and I know many residents who take extra precautions to protect their livestock. I crate both of our dogs because of their reaction.

Glendale has raised the fine for the first-time offense of using illegal fireworks to $1500. Are you willing to play Russian Roulette and take the chance that you will not be caught nor fined?

Some of the illegal fireworks are:

  • Firecrackers
  • Skyrockets
  • Bottle rockets
  • Missile rockets
  • Torpedoes

Per Arizona State law, people are not allowed to light fireworks on public property including parks, streets, and sidewalks. To report the illegal use of fireworks, please call Glendale Police Department’s non-emergency number 623-930-3000. It may turn out to be an exercise in futility, but it is still worth the effort. The police department is inundated with calls that night. In addition, the officer must see the illegal activity. An almost impossible standard to meet. Still, every year I call in the hope that this will be the year an officer catches the offender in the act.

Please do not use illegal aerial fireworks. Go to a sanctioned event and watch their spectacular display instead.

Happy 4th of July. Take a moment to remember the real reason for celebration – our country’s independence.

© Joyce Clark, 2023     


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