With no sign of the dry and hot weather letting up, local governments across the state are banning fireworks ahead of the Fourth of July.
The state’s fireworks statute prohibits local bans on fireworks during an 11-day period surrounding July 4. But some counties and local governments are getting around the statute using emergency disaster declarations.
State Fire Marshall Jim Greeson says the disaster declarations are used during many dangerous weather conditions from droughts to blizzards.
“It gives them the authority to limit, require, suspend, restrict certain activities,” he says.
Indiana Fireworks Dealers Association Executive Director Steve Graves says it is the people selling fireworks who are really hurt. He says local bans are unnecessary and wonders if local governments will help businesses owners financially.
“When they declare a state of emergency, there are funds available to help businesses that have suffered from that,” Graves says. “So we’re asking that question: will our fireworks people have the same rights as others under these difficult times?”
Greeson says certain levels of damage – property or financial – have to be met before government dollars become available and says it’s unlikely that will happen.