HAILEY, Idaho — The Wood River Valley will have a quieter 4th of July holiday this year as fireworks are prohibited in several areas.
The Blaine County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to ban fireworks in all areas outside of city limits. Both the City of Hailey and City of Ketchum passed emergency ordinances to implement a ban on fireworks within city limits.
“I think it is a great idea,” said Hailey Resident Bill Bridwell.
While there are many locals who support these new ordinances, this type of firework ban has not been seen in recent history.
“I have been up here for 23 years and I don’t recall there being a firework ban in the past,” said Hailey Police Chief Steve England.
Aerial fireworks are illegal in all of Idaho, but these bans in Blaine County now prohibit the use of what is usually known as safe and sane fireworks. These include items such as cone fountains, wheels and whistles, and even sparklers.
“Anything that can be lit, pretty much,” said England.
These decisions are all linked to the elevated fire dangers posed by the area’s severe drought conditions.
“We are not allowing the lighting of any fireworks this year,” said Mike Baledge with the Hailey Fire Department. “Hopefully it will help curve some of it. Hopefully the citizens will understand that this year is a pretty severe drought situation, and hopefully they will comply with the ordinance.”
In Hailey, the city council has denied sales permits for all fireworks stands, but about 40 miles from Hailey into Shoshone, fireworks stands are still open for business.
“Obviously people can go elsewhere and buy fireworks and bring them here,” said England. “Again I'm hoping that if they want to enjoy fireworks it is somewhere there is not an ordinance in effect.”
The Hailey Police Department said if they do have to go in and enforce the city ordinance, the offenders could face up to a misdemeanor penalty of $1000.
The City of Hailey and police department said they want everyone to celebrate Independence Day in a robust and safe way. The only legal use of fireworks in Hailey this year will be the community fireworks display put on by the city.