Two out of three Ada County commissioners want to ban fireworks in the fire-prone areas of the county this summer.
On Tuesday, Democrat Commissioner Kendra Kenyon and Republican Commissioner Rod Beck voted to approve a ban on fireworks of any type in areas of unincorporated Ada County without a fire district. This covers the rural southwestern portion of the county and the foothills.
This is the same resolution Ada County passes every fire season in order to try and tamp down on fire danger, especially in the wake of the Table Rock fire and last year’s Goose fire which were both started with fireworks.
“We had teenagers with fireworks set off the (Goose) fire in the foothills (last year) that came awfully close to our landfill with methane gas, which could have been disastrous,” Kenyon said, with Beck backing her up in agreement. “I think we’re really in a position where we need to message this loud and clear: No fireworks in those fire-prone areas.”
Republican Commissioner Ryan Davidson took a different tack.
“I would argue that despite the ban, (the teenagers) still had the fireworks so I am generally not in favor of banning much of anything,” Davidson said. “Maybe if we had designated areas…I get there’s a risk, but I don’t believe in banning fireworks.”
What would enforcement look like?
Despite the ban, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have plans to be out in force responding to calls about fireworks.
Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Patrick Orr told BoiseDev deputies will have to focus on traditional crimes instead of chasing reports of fireworks going off in remote areas.
“While we will have normal patrol staffing on the holiday and the days around it, we want deputies to concentrate on issues that have the most impact on our community (persons and property crimes) and be able to respond to emergencies like every other day of the year, so our response to the dozens of illegal fireworks calls and complaints will be limited,” Orr said.
However, if an officer observes someone lighting off fireworks in a banned area, they will be confiscated and are at risk of being ticketed.