Should we consider fireworks during winter only?

By Ben Olson
Reader Staff

When I was a kid, there was nothing more fun than lighting off fireworks in front of the house on the Fourth of July. The smell of sulfur and barbecue always seemed to go together perfectly.

Then I grew up.

As the years go by, I realize more and more that fireworks are sort of ridiculous. I’m not referring to the awesome shows that organizations like the Sandpoint Lions Club hosts every year to celebrate our independence. I’m talking about consumer fireworks — the ones you buy at those stalls and, for the adventurous, the heavy hitters folks purchase within the Coeur d’Alene Reservation (even though most are illegal to use off the reservation).

Is it really necessary that we light off these handheld explosives every year right around the time when our forests get tinder dry? With the last half-dozen summers being plagued with forest fire smoke here in North Idaho, I think it’s high time we rethink our timing on fireworks.

When the Samowen Fire District announced last week they were banning fireworks within the district for the entire season, my first thought was, “Good.”

In a perfect world, people would light fireworks in a safe manner, pick up the litter afterward and keep the forests safe from human idiocy. But this is far from a perfect world. And yes, humans are idiots.

I’m officially of the mindset that we should just ban the damn things outright during the summer months. If you want to light off fireworks, wait until the snow flies. Then light them off to your heart’s content. It’s nearly impossible to start a forest fire when there’s three feet of snow on the ground.

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