A public hearing on the possibility of emergency bans on fireworks in dry weather conditions is scheduled in Aberdeen.
The first reading of an ordinance passed unanimously out of the Aberdeen City Council on Wednesday night that would allow for the Mayor to declare an emergency ban on discharging fireworks during extreme weather conditions.
The recommendation was presented to the council by the members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Fireworks.
Cited in the reasoning to update Aberdeen Municipal Code was the hot and dry weather seen over the summer of 2021, when concerns were raised about the fire danger related to discharging fireworks. Following that weather, the City Council formed the committee to review options.
According to the committee, who met with members of the Aberdeen Police Department and Aberdeen Fire Department, they had discussed banning fireworks in the City of Aberdeen. Following discussion, the committee determined “the best option” was to allow for the emergency ban for discharge if weather conditions call for it.
Jason Trout, Regional Manager of TNT Fireworks, spoke during the public comment section of the meeting asking the council to consider basing any emergency bans on specific data instead of placing the responsibility on the Mayor.
Under the current proposal in front of the city council, it would limit the discharge, but not the sale of, consumer fireworks.
Prior to a ban being put in place, the Mayor would consult with officials and gain input from the National Weather Service, the State Department of Natural Resources, the State Fire Marshall, and any other appropriate agencies, to determine that conditions are too dangerous for the use of consumer fireworks.
The public hearing on the second reading of the ordinance is scheduled for the next Aberdeen City Council meeting.
Under current state law, any change in local law regarding fireworks that are more restrictive than state law requires waiting a year before they can go into effect. A bill by 19th District Representative Joel McEntire that would shortened that time restraint to only 90 days failed to make it out of committee during legislative session.