Now the fireworks ball is in the Hoisington City Council’s court. Both the Barton County Commission and Great Bend City Council Monday approved setting Saturday, Sept. 29, as the date for the private discharge of fireworks.
However, the county’s OK was contingent upon the Great Bend and Hoisington councils approving their own resolutions, which Great Bend did Monday night. The Hoisington council meets Monday, Sept. 24, and the item is on its agenda then.
The commission passed its resolution allowing the use of fireworks in the unincorporated areas of the county Monday morning. This rescinded action banning fireworks taken July 2.
Barton County Communications Director and Claflin Fire Chief Doug Hubbard told the commission fire chiefs from across the county met and discussed the matter recently. They all had no problem with private fireworks being used.
“Things are a little greener, we’ve had a little moisture and the fields are cultivated,” Hubbard said. These reasons made the decision a little more palatable for firefighters.
However, the commission made their resolution reliant upon similar action of the two cities. Other communities in the county allowed public fireworks on July 4.
With the Fourth of July only days away, the earlier commission action was taken because of dangerous fire conditions. Then, it was determined that the commission would consider further action on Aug. 6.
However, that date came and things hadn’t improved. So, the commission decided to ban fireworks until the drought conditions lessened.
At the council meeting, Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said the idea to postpone the fireworks in July met with a lot of criticism. But “I still think it was the right thing to do,” he said.
“It is still dry out there, but it is safer than it was on the Fourth,” the chief said. In the county, fireworks may discharged from 8 a.m. to midnight. In the Great Bend city limits, the times are from 10 a.m. to midnight.
This is not to be confused with the City of Great Bend community fireworks display will take place at dusk Saturday, Sept. 22, on the night of the Airfest and Big Bend Bike Rally. On Sept. 4, the council approved the display, but left alone individually owned fireworks.