Just say no to fireworks on peninsula

Posted: Tuesday, July 03, 2001

There are reasons most fireworks displays in Alaska are held on New Year's Eve, and the dark is only one of them.

This year's summer weather is warmer than normal, the vegetation is dry, and Independence Day seems to bring out the need in some folks to make noise with explosives.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor's Office reminds residents and visitors that fireworks are illegal on the Kenai. This year, the ban will be enforced with extra stringency because of fire risk.

Fireworks are not permitted anywhere within the borough. This includes both sale and use.

The borough ordinance has only one exception. The mayor may issue a fireworks use permit to organizations or groups for public fireworks displays in areas outside of the cities. However, permits must be issued 30 days or more before the event. Permits for a display within city limits must be obtained at city hall.

State statute prohibits the use of fireworks on vegetated land, and local ordinances prohibit their use on all lands in Southcentral, except the city of Houston.

The state Division of Forestry has initiated a burn ban on all lands on the Kenai Peninsula. The ban became effective June 28 and will remain in effect until further notice.

This prohibits all open fires including debris and trash fires, burn barrels and cooking fires not in established fire rings. On lands outside of the Chugach National Forest boundaries, small cooking or warming fires surrounded by 25 feet of clearing and free of vegetation and burnable material will be allowed.

Alaska State Troopers and Kenai Peninsula police departments will be working together to enforce fireworks laws.

Persons found using fireworks in restricted areas will be issued a citation for a court appearance, charged with a class B misdemeanor, have their fireworks confiscated and can be fined from $100 to $300, according to Kenai Police and the troopers.

It is also against the law to throw any lit material on the ground. This includes cigarette butts, matches and anything else that is burning.

Houston is the only incorporated community in the state that allows fireworks, and then only on private property with the permission of the land owner.

The troopers said if a person decides to ignore the law, please remember these tips: Always read the directions, have a sober adult present, use only outdoors, do not use them near dry grass or other flammable materials, never point or throw fireworks at another person or an animal, do not carry them in your pockets and keep water handy.

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