A lengthy discussion in Monday’s Barton County Commission meeting boiled down to this: Though Independence Day falls on a Monday this year, creating a three-day weekend for many people, in Barton County it is legal only to set off fireworks on Monday, July 4 — except in Hoisington where they can be set off on Sunday, too, starting at 1 p.m.
State regulations allow communities to set times for fireworks use.
Most Barton County municipalities allow them only on the Fourth.
However, Hoisington is making an exception, it was explained.
Outside the city limits, they are only allowed on July 4 and in the other municipalities.
And, it was stressed, that those who choose to use fireworks are responsible of any damages or injuries, so whether they are being used in violation of regulations or not, people who are not careful could still find themselves legally responsible if they cause damage.
On the other hand, a special night display — privately funded, property licensed and to be held on private property — will be allowed, the commissioners agreed.
They approved a request from Michael and Steve Klepper for a family fireworks event on the evening of Sunday, July 3. That will take place west of the Classic Inn, just southwest of Great Bend, and it will be shot by a Class B Fireworks holder, the commissioners were told.
Michael Klepper explained that it has been traditional for his family to do a private show, and that two of his brothers hold Class B Fireworks licenses, so they can legally shoot the larger nightworks.
Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said his department would prefer that the special arrangements be approved. That would mean that there would be a show on Sunday and another on Monday. Otherwise, his department would have to be prepared to respond to two shows at one time on Monday.
Just because this special show was approved, the county officials stressed, that does not mean that any other nightworks will be legal on Sunday, July 3.
Ellinwood Fire Chief Christ Komarek said this is an especially crucial year for everyone using fireworks to be especially careful, because of the drought. “We have more concerns than we have had over the last several years.”
Ellinwood’s community nightworks show will also be on Sunday, July 3, it was noted.
Komarek said conditions are dangerously dry and even if the county got an inch of rain this week, with the expected heat and high wind, the condition would still be dangerous for the holiday.