Fireworks and the drought

Published 07/03 2014 05:27PM

Updated 07/03 2014 08:20PM

BAKERSFIELD, CA - All fireworks can cause a fire, especially during our drought. That is why many are asking if an outright ban could be coming to Kern County. Supporters of a ban say fireworks are dangerous.

But, a ban would be devastating according to the boosters, churches, and non-profits running the annual stands. That includes one on Airport Drive benefiting New Covenant Church and the community it serves.

"Oh, it would be devastating," said Lanie Hawkins, Associate Pastor, of the ban.

All of the money customers spend at their fireworks booth helps send kids to camp and community outreach.

"And, they love investing, too because they know their money is going toward youth. It's going toward a cause," said Hawkins.

But, it's the potential effect of fireworks that has some supporting an outright ban. Flying sparks in our bone dry conditions could create the perfect storm.

Margaret Constantino said she wouldn't miss the fireworks at all.

"Not me personally, but I know that the kids love them," said Constantino.

"I wish they'd knock all of the fireworks out," said Pete Castro.

"It's like we are at war," added Tammy Kuster about the firework noise. "We live at northeast Bakersfield, and oh my gosh, the walls are shaking."

While all fireworks are banned in Kern's mountain communities, the Kern County Fire Department has no plans to expand the limitations.

"We support the safe and sane fireworks that were approved by the California State Fire Marshal's Office. We don't believe that if you say, you ban fireworks, people are still going to bring in illegal fireworks and that is our issue," said Brandon Hill, Kern County Fire Department Public Information Officer.

"People always have the right to petition their government," said Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez about the fireworks issue.

Supervisor Perez says no one this year has asked the board to consider a ban.

"In the past, a ban with fireworks has been met with quite a bit of opposition and I imagine that any ban today would be met fiercely," said Supervisor Perez.

Those needing the money have been fighting to keep the annual community cash flow coming in, hoping the only thing it sparks is a little controversy.

"Its one time of making some great money to be able to spread it out through the years to affect your community, and that's what we do here," said Hawkins.

If the county would ever ban all fireworks, it would not affect Bakersfield unless the city council would choose to follow suit.

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