Residents opt for safety over risk of fireworks
Damage caused by fireworks was down on the Fourth of July and previous days compared to past years.
WHILE Big Island firefighters continued to fight a brush fire that scorched more than 9,000 acres, Hawaii escaped serious damage from Independence Day fireworks. The success is a sign that most residents prefer watching aerial fireworks set off by pyrotechnic professionals rather than risk danger caused by amateur celebrants.
The wise choice was apparent before the Fourth arrived. Fire Capt. Terry Seelig reported that 114 permits for firecrackers were issued on Oahu leading up to the holiday, less than half the 229 sold last year during the same period. Permits are not required for sparklers, smoke "bombs" and other novelties.
Honolulu firefighters responded to three dozen fire calls, fewer than two-thirds of which were thought to be fireworks-related. Fireworks were blamed for nine of 15 wildfires on Oahu. No property damage or injuries were reported to be caused by fireworks, compared to 64 properties damaged last year and 83 during the same three-day period running up to the 2005 holiday.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people attended the fireworks display at Ala Moana Beach Park. The Honolulu Fire Department has long called for restricting fireworks to such organized displays.
The reduced damage caused by fireworks can be attributed to increased enforcement of the ban against private aerial rockets and the common sense that has spread like wildfire among the vast majority of residents. Let's hope it prevails when New Year's rolls around.
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