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California Drought: Why Aren't Fireworks Sales Banned In Dry Conditions?

CBS13 viewer Gerri Swinsick wrote to us on Facebook, asking "Why are we letting fireworks be sold during this severe drought when we can't even water our lawns.

CBS13's Rob McAllister went looking for answers in Elk Grove.

As fireworks stands are popping up all over the area in anticipation of the first day of sales on June 28, firefighters are worried it could be a busy Fourth of July weekend.

Dry fields offer fuel for a wayward firework. That's why fire agencies are pushing neighbors and the counties to clear brush before it's too late.

"Our focus is dealing with our weed abatement problem that tends to create the fire issue," said Cosumnes Fire Marshall George Apple.

He says conditions are bad this year due to the drought. So CBS13 asked why not join other counties in California and call for a ban on legal fireworks?

"The reality is safe and sane fireworks aren't really the problem," he said, noting illegal fireworks are the big problem, "because they are the ones that go up in the air. You have no control over them."

Apple says banning the safe and sane fireworks sold at booths across the region will only hurt nonprofits. Take away the seven-day fundraiser and groups like Cottage House would be out thousands of dollars.

"About 80 percent of their yearly funds for their activities whether they go river rafting or other events comes straight from the sales of the fireworks. So it's a big hit if they were to shut it down," said David Husid with the group that helps homeless families get back on their feet.

A board of supervisors or a city council would have to pass an emergency ordinance to stop all legal sales.


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